Monday 21st Jan, 2019

Public transport network upgrades cause service delays in May

Metro Trains Comeng EMU. Photo: Zed Fitzhume / Creative Commons
Photo: Zed Fitzhume / Creative Commons

Unplanned disruptions and major infrastructure works are to blame for a drop in public transport punctuality in May, according to Public Transport Victoria (PTV).

The transport authority recently released its May performance figures for Metro Trains Melbourne, Yarra Trams and regional train operator V/Line, which reveal that all three providers fell beneath their contractually-obliged monthly punctuality standards.

Metro Trains delivered 90% of its services on-time last month, short of the 92% punctuality benchmark established in the new MR4 contract which came into effect in November 2017 and below its April performance of 93.2%.

The worst performing lines were the Pakenham (83.4%), Cranbourne (86.3%) and Craigieburn (86%) lines, which have been undergoing significant infrastructure works throughout May.

“On the rail network, major level crossing, signalling and maintenance works, impacted performance on metropolitan and regional services,” said PTV’s CEO Jeroen Weimar.

“We recognise that these works are disruptive, and thank passengers for their patience as we invest in building a network capable of delivering more trains more often on our busiest corridors.”

Metro Trains also missed its reliability target (the percentage of timetabled services that actually run during the month) of 98.5%, falling just short at 98.4%.

Yarra Trams exceeded its 98.5% reliability target for a fifth successive month, posting a result of 98.7%. But it, too, like Metro fell just short of its punctuality target (82%), with 81.7% of its services arriving on-time throughout the month.

“Last month was a tough month for operators with a number of major incidents causing significant disruption on our public transport network and impacting performance,” Weimar said.

“This included an unprecedented four major incidents involving vehicles carrying high loads damaging overhead tram power wires and a police operation to investigate a suspicious package at North Melbourne Station which severely impacted train and tram services during the morning peak.”

Faced with its most busy May on record, with 1.8 million journeys taken on its services, V/Line exceeded its reliability target of 96%, but was unable to replicate its six-month high for punctuality recorded in April (86.2%), with only 79.3% of its services running on-time.

The Bairnsdale Line posted an extremely low punctuality result, with only 27% of its timetabled services arriving on-time throughout May.

Extensive works on the line close to Melbourne, including level crossing removals, and infrastructure upgrades and repairs, contributed to service delays.

“PTV is working with V/Line to examine performance of all corridors on the regional network, and will provide advice to government in the coming months,” Weimar said.

“At the same time, rolling stock, track, stations and signalling are being upgraded across our regional network and we’re recruiting more V/Line drivers than ever before to improve service reliability.”

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