Passenger Rail

Melbourne’s new public transport contracts showing improvements

Metro train. Photo:

Government data suggests Victoria’s new passenger rail contracts resulted in 20 per cent fewer train faults on the metropolitan network, and significant improvements in customer satisfaction during their first 12 months.

A year after new, “tougher” contracts were enforced for the private operators of the Melbourne Metro and Yarra Trams networks, treasurer Tim Pallas said new measures were having a clear impact.

“We introduced tougher new contracts that put passengers first and it’s great to see that’s exactly what they’ve done.”

According to the government’s figures, greater investment in maintenance has driven a 20 per cent reduction in train faults on the metropolitan network, and a 30 per cent decline in infrastructure faults.

Meanwhile, the short-running or cancellation of tram services has declined 25 per cent.

Yarra Trams has reportedly seen a 15 per cent drop in complaints, including a 40 per cent decline in complaints about passenger information.

Results of an independent customer satisfaction survey commissioned by Public Transport Victoria also indicated increased satisfaction under the new contracts, with Metro Trains Melbourne recording a 22-year high in the November 2018 quarter.

The state says the introduction of passenger experience measures and mystery shoppers into the new contracts has provided an extra measure against which the performance of operators can be regularly monitored.

A team of 22 mystery shoppers have conducted roughly 1,000 surveys on metropolitan trains, and 1,300 surveys across trams and tram stops, since January 2018.

“After just the first year of the new contracts we’re already seeing significant improvements across the network,” public transport minister Melissa Horne said.

“Passengers have told us they want to see cleaner trains and stations, more reliable services, more timely and accurate information and less graffiti and that’s what these contracts are delivering.”