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Millions withheld from Metro for poor punctuality

<span class="" id="parent-fieldname-description"> $4 million in revenue will be withheld from Melbourne passenger rail operator Metro because of continued poor punctuality results. </span> <p>By Jennifer Perry<br /><br />Public transport minister Martin Pakula said the government is sending a “strong message” to Metro and that the community expects and deserves better performance from their train system.</p><p>“It’s not unreasonable for passengers to expect that they will reach their destination on time,” Pakula said.</p><p>The franchise agreement between Metro and the state enables the government to take action above the normal penalties imposed on public transport operators for failing to meet targets.</p><p>Under the $8bn contract signed with the government last year, Metro can reportedly be fined a maximum of $12m a year for poor performance but if poor performance continues for an extended period of time the government can withhold up to $4m, which it has now done.</p><p>“We’re disappointed the government has withheld payments, but after analysing the network’s performance over the past seven months we know where our attention needs to be to meet our customers’ expectations,” Metro chief executive Andrew Lezala said.</p><p>Metro released its seven month performance figures on July 10 that showed while 98.7% of services were delivered and June punctuality improved on May’s result, June’s figures fell short of the 88% target with 82.9% of trains running on-time.</p><p>According to <em>The Age,</em> around one in five trains runs more than five minutes late.</p><p>Lezala said unprecedented levels of improvement works across the network had impacted punctuality.</p><p>“It will gradually translate into improved on-time performance, but there is often a lag as performance catches up to the level of maintenance activity,” he said.</p><p>Pakula said the Department of Transport and Metro are working together to agree on a range of improvements and setting targets to achieve these.<br />“We’ll be spending the next 12 months focusing on getting this right, and we’re confident our customers will soon see a consistent pattern of improvement in our performance,” Lezala said.</p><p>“It is also important to note that the delivery of our services has remained high and we’re pleased to report we’ve consistently delivered more than 98 per cent of services since we took control of the network.</p><p>“But we are also acutely aware that we need to get our customers to where they need to go, on time, comfortably and safely and that is our focus.”<br />&nbsp</p>