Even worse chaos than usual on the Great Northern and Thameslink railway lines today has been blamed on a taxi booking firm’s system failing.

There have been near-constant delays, cancellations and overcrowding on the lines since a new timetable was introduced, but this morning has been particularly bad for commuters.

Govia Thameslink – which runs the Great Northern, Thameslink and Southern lines – said today that it often relies on taxis to get its drivers around, and that the problems have stemmed from the taxi provider’s booking system failing.

The company warned that services were likely to be “altered at short notice”.

“As part of our planning process we often have to use taxis throughout a driver’s shift to position them from one place to another so trains can get from A to B,” Govia Thameslink said in a statement.

“This often is the case to enable drivers to be in position before the first trains of the day and when trains go in and out of their depots and where drivers still have additional journeys left on their shifts to complete.

“Unfortunately, however, the taxi provider this morning had suffered a major failure of their booking system and as such a large number of drivers were out of their correct positions or severely late running as a result.

“This affected drivers across all of our network and as a result, disruption has been caused to Southern, Thameslink and Great Northern services.”

The firm added that it was “working hard with our transport provider to get things back on track and we are doing what we can to ensure that trains are able to run with the resources available to us.

“The initial peak services this morning have however been affected, and services are likely to be altered at short notice.

“We are working hard to get drivers back to where they need to be so that they can get back to their scheduled services as soon as possible.

“We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause to your journey today.”

First class will remain classified, the company said.

Shortly after 10am, a Govia Thameslink spokesman added: “First thing each morning, many of our drivers travel by taxi from their work station to the engineering depot where the train they are bringing into service has been stabled and worked on overnight. This is standard practice.

“This morning, the company we use to book taxis appeared to suffer a major failure of its booking system and taxis failed to arrive. There was no warning.

“We used local cab firms where we could but with trains not leaving their start point on time, this has caused disruption across the Govia Thameslink network of Southern, Gatwick Express, Thameslink and Great Northern – for which we sincerely apologise.

“We are talking to the taxi booking firm at the highest level to understand how this happened and doing everything we can to rearrange our resources to get the service back on track as soon as possible.”

Commuters affected by today’s railway nightmare included Hitchin’s Ant Stansbie, who summed it up on Twitter as “another day, another commuting fiasco”.

Mike Alcock tweeted: “When are we going to get proper compensation for your terrible service? You’re destroying livelihoods and the well-being of thousands of commuters.

“Delay Repay is pitiful and not enough.”