Rail industry news (Australia, New Zealand)

Ensuring safety and peace of mind

Mobility specialist Transdev is using community, culture and campaigns as a way of transforming Sydney Light Rail journeys into a secure mode of travel.

Transdev is harnessing the expertise of government and community leaders and customer feedback to help make commuting by Sydney Light Rail a safer way to travel.

Transport experts, emergency service representatives, academics, teachers and high school students all attended a recent Transdev public safety forum which aimed to understand and improve how youth interact with public transport.

The forum, held at Allianz Stadium, enabled experts to explain youth thought patterns, youth transport use and how early exposure  to public transport can positively shape lifelong habits.

Transdev runs these safety forums regularly to work together with communities and specialist agencies to make tram travel safer for everyone. 

Last year, the safety forum focus was on large scale special events in the lead up to World Pride and the FIFA Women’s World Cup, periods in which Sydney Light Rail safely moved more than five million people.

Transdev Australia and New Zealand CEO Brian Brennan said connecting with different groups at these forums was a powerful vehicle for change.

“Transdev, along with ALTRAC Light Rail, Transport for NSW and tram manufacturer Alstom, are always looking for ways to better understand our customers and make our services safer and more accessible,” he said.

“These forums are always insightful and a very practical way to hear a diverse range of views and latest research.

“It not only brings a range of local representatives and community leaders together but fosters closer working relationships amongst everyone.

“Our most recent focus on youth was apt and very moving to hear from students how they interact with Sydney trams.

“And we were able to follow-up after the forum to talk more with schools along the tram corridor about how to travel safe and avoid some riskier behaviours.”

Involving partners and the community collectively in safety is one way Transdev is realising its Safety First focus.

A workplace culture that puts safety first is another supporting pillar.

Trandev is pround of its diverse, motivated and informed team. IMAGE: Transdev

“There’s no silver bullet when it comes to safety. Our Safety First approach is about very deliberate and consistent daily practice,” Brennan said.

Our employees understand what the company does and why, our mission, and they see the part they play in it. We have a real reputation for succession opportunities in   the business. 

“We’ve worked hard to build a great culture at Sydney Light Rail. I’m very proud of that and it’s reflected in our low industry rates of absenteeism and turnover.” 

Transdev’s Sydney Light Rail team has also raised about $45,000 for a range of local charities from the St Vinnies CEO Sleepout, Movember to Wear it Purple Day.

“It’s also a workplace where people are encouraged and enabled to report and action change,” Brennan said.

“We value our people, we invest in them and we communicate openly and regularly with them because transport starts with our people.”

Every team member is trained, empowered and equipped to do their roles well to ensure safe services. This year, Transdev supported more than 140 of its frontline leaders, including many in light rail, with customised end-to-end development training via the Trans’Lead program.

Transdev Sydney Light Rail Managing Director Arsene Durand-Raucher said having a motivated and informed team helped to keep people focused on their roles and working safely.

“Safety is in our DNA because our people live and breathe safety in each of their own roles,” he said.

“Every team member, regardless of where they work – as a tram driver, customer service officer or cleaner, has a part to play in keeping the network safe and running.”

Durand-Raucher said safety habits, measures and improvements across all operational areas was part of ensuring a safe tram network.

Raising awareness about safety and asking for community support and cooperation was another element of Transdev’s Safety First focus.

With record passenger numbers on Sydney Light Rail, Transdev runs regular public safety campaigns to remind customers how to stay safe around trams.

The recent “Don’t Run the Risk” campaign was designed to reduce incidents where pedestrians are distracted and unaware or cross on red lights.

“With most passengers plugged into their devices and headphones, we need to constantly remind people to be aware of their surroundings,” Durand-Raucher said.

“It’s very simple things but just being aware, looking up from your phone, stepping away from trams, holding on while taking off and stopping, holding your child’s hand firmly in yours, planning ahead and allowing enough travel time – are all ways to keep everyone safe.”

Brennan said he looked forward to applying the safety lessons learned from Sydney Light Rail to the introduction later this year of Parramatta Light Rail, for which Transdev had been contracted to supply, operate and maintain.

Transdev also runs sessions with seniors groups to encourage members to try tram travel, get familiar with public transport and hold on while in the trams but also how to seek help if they need it.

“These sessions not only help our seniors stay safe while travelling but also give them the confidence to travel and be independent,” Durand-Raucher said.

Identifying risks and improving physical elements of safety are all part of  Transdev’s daily safety practices and routines.

Smart and regular fleet and track maintenance is also crucial to ensure every tram is in good working order and at a high standard that customers expect.

Sydney Light Rail also has multiple customer help points at stops and onboard each light rail vehicle and a CCTV network of 1048 cameras monitored 24/7 to keep customers safe.

Brennan said there were many collective elements that influenced tram safety.

“Safety is Transdev’s responsibility and underpins the trust our clients, passengers and employees place in us,” he said.