Go-Ahead to pay Government up to £81.3m for Southeastern failures

The transport company was stripped of the rail franchise in October last year.

24 February 2022

Go-Ahead group’s stripping of the London Southeastern rail franchise is to cost the business around £81.3 million, the company said.

Bosses revealed they expect to pay the Government £51.3 million over its failures in running the service, which it lost last year, and has put aside £30 million for a possible fine. Around £49.2 million has already been paid.

The chief executive apologised for the problems, as the company identified “serious errors” in the way the franchise was run and over the way it dealt with the Department for Transport.

New boss Christian Schreyer, who joined in November not long after the franchise was lost, said he was “optimistic” the issues over the franchise could be resolved soon.

Southeastern services
Go-Ahead was stripped of its franchise in October last year (Gareth Fuller/PA)

He added: “It’s been a very challenging year for Go-Ahead and our shareholders, for which I apologise, on behalf of the board.”

The company has already apologised to the Government for the failings, which had led to the firm’s shares being suspended from the London Stock Exchange as accountants needed more time to work out what impact the problems meant for the company.

It lost the Southeastern franchise in October last year as a consequence of the way profit share payments and certain overpayments made by the Government department were handled.

Bosses also highlighted that a further £21.3 million hit could be taken as part of the financial implications relating to the Southeastern franchise in relation to other negotiations with the Government.

A business review is now under way and is expected to report back in the next few weeks.

Elsewhere in the firm, which also runs regional buses, bosses said there had been a recovery in passenger numbers, although there was a temporary decline when the Omicron Covid variant emerged.

Regional bus volumes are currently at around 80% of pre-pandemic levels, it added.

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