Metro Trains Melbourne’s Performance Manager Jeremy Yeates answers a few questions ahead of the Metro Rail Stations & Terminals Summit on June 25-26 – To find out more, download the brochure.
Q: What transformation is Metro undergoing to enhance customer experience?
A: We’re trying to influence passenger behaviour which is not necessarily always that straightforward. A lot of this involves engaging the frontline station staff to communicate more effectively to passengers and improve their responses to announcements which then will enable the trains to depart more smoothly. We’ve discovered that this depends on type of announcements, and the type of language, tone, and speech rate, so we’ve engaged speech pathologists to work with our frontline staff.
We’re also working on extra wayfinding and user experience tools such as and platform markings, passenger information displays (PIDs) to affect that as well. For example, we’re looking at having a burnline or a countdown clock on the PIDs to visualise the dwell for both staff and passengers to drive the behaviour.
It’s also important to recognise our passengers who have special needs, or passengers that require assistance, for example, the ramp board. This has traditionally been operated by our drivers; the drivers have to get out of the cab, set up the ramp, etc. further adding to the dwell time. Consequently, we’re looking at moving this procedure to the station staff to make the process more efficient.
Q: How are you working to ensure all stakeholders are effectively engaged throughout these changes?
A: There are many stakeholders to consider; Metro’s station staff, authorised officers, and drivers, Public Transport Victoria, and the Victorian Government ‘s expectations as well as our passengers with varying needs. We spend a lot of time engaging different stakeholders and representatives of different stakeholders to make sure that we are considering the impacts of what we’re trying to do, to put it broadly.
It’s important to ensure all stakeholders are on-board during the entire process, and to help them to try and identify any existing problems and then engaging them with the generation of solutions. We’ve held numerous workshops and process mapping projects, with aims to encourage staff to achieve change at the ground level.
There are always restrictions in terms of budgeting and timeframe so a main focus is to ensure we’re clear and communicate effectively when we get ideas and when we engage staff, for example, acknowledging any feedback we’ve received and communicating what resources we are able to allocate to improve these areas.
On the other hand, we may receive a request beyond the scope of what we’re able to provide and most people appreciate being given feedback on their idea, whether or not it’s going to go ahead, rather than not being clear about whether the solution can be implemented. Being as transparent as we can in regards to what’s going to be implemented and when and what is not going to be forming part of the projects that we’re working on at this point in time is of the essence.
Q: What are the overall benefits of effective stakeholder engagement to project delivery?
A: We achieve well-rounded result as a result of engaging different stakeholders – we achieve better solutions because when there’s a diverse group of people contributing. One of the main things that we’ve identified is going whilst undertaking improvements is that we don’t know stations and locations as well as the frontline staff working there on a day-to-day basis.
By engaging them effectively, we gain a better insight into the issues that they face on a day-to-day basis. We can then help tailor solutions to each station individual, as all of our stations are different, having been built at different times with different.
There’s a range of different responses that we can implement to get the right outcome but we’ve definitely recognised the greatest way to ensure a beneficial solution is through engaging station staff who have very good insight into what may or may not be effective, and then from there, we cam help guide solutions.
Jeremy Yeates will be among more than 20 industry professionals, from organisations including Metro Trains Melbourne, Sydney Trains, Transport for NSW, Rail Projects Victoria and more, at Metro Rail Stations Terminals 2019, being held in Sydney on June 25 and 26. Secure your tickets here.