Passenger Rail, Workforce, Certification & Training

QR boss apologises over short staffing, cancelled services

Queensland Rail boss Helen Gluer has apologised, and Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is furious after the public transport operator was caught out short staffed last week, resulting in over 100 cancelled services.

Gluer on Friday, October 21 offered an “unreserved apology” for the service disruptions, which she said were caused by short staffing as a result of QR underestimating the requirements of the new timetable, which incorporates services on the newly-opened Redcliffe Peninsula line.

“The performance of Queensland Rail since the new Redcliffe Peninsula line has opened has been unacceptable and from our customers’ perspective totally unacceptable,” she said, according to ABC.

“This is my fault. This is Queensland Rail’s fault and we had unrealistic expectations on what crewing we needed to actually deliver this timetable.”

Gluer said the operator would need to hire around 20 more drivers to cope with the new timetable, but said the short term focus was on finding a way to make the timetable work with the current workforce.

“At the moment our total focus is on getting a timetable out that we can deliver to which we will do in the next couple of days,” she said on Friday.

Palaszczuk on Friday slammed the operator, saying she and public transport minister Stirling Hinchliffe were furious to hear of the disruptions.

“First of all I’m absolutely furious,” she told the media. “I don’t blame commuters for being furious as well. Let me make it clear – I want answers. And my Minister wants answers.”

Palaszczuk said Hinchliffe would brief a Cabinet meeting on Monday, October 24.

Meanwhile Opposition transport spokesperson Andrew Powell jumped on the issue, saying Hinchliffe needed to “tell commuters why”.

“It’s only taken 18 months to trash the record of the country’s best rail network,” Powell said, according to ABC. “When [the LNP] left government, the rail services were running 96% on time. [Now] we are looking at 84%.”