Rail industry news (Australia, New Zealand), Suppliers and Manufacturers, Light Rail

The hypercare approach to major events

Big events are booming in Sydney, and Transdev is using a “hypercare” approach to make sure fans get to and from venues safely and easily. 

With the city’s major event cap raised to 20 shows and a new Parramatta tram line set to open, Transdev is preparing for yet another record year.

Transdev runs the trams to the Moore Park precinct, home to both Allianz Stadium and the SCG, as well as other key venues such as Sydney’s International Convention Centre and Randwick Racecourse.

A growing list of global stars will play Sydney this year after recent concerts already by Paul McCartney, Robbie Williams, Pink and Taylor Swift.

Transdev Australia and New Zealand CEO, Brian Brennan, said the Moore Park tram stops were the gateway for many people to big stadium events before connecting to other transport.

“The post COVID boost in big event travel has been remarkable. People are back out and about and wanting to go to more shows, concerts and big sporting events,” he said.

“Transdev made a record 37 million trips across Sydney’s tram network last year – a 46 per cent increase on 2022. Major events such as Sydney World Pride and the FIFA Women’s World Cup had a hand in that.”

Transdev Sydney Light Rail Managing Director Arsene Durand-Raucher said the level of preparation Transdev undertook for all major event transport before, during and after an event, was critical.

“Events are always juggling acts requiring swift action, back-up plans and clear communication across teams and with customers – all driven by our well-trained people,” he said.

“Our goal is always to get fans to and from these major events safely, quickly and easily.

“There’s always a buzz when you’re travelling to that concert or sporting event together on our trams – it’s part of the atmosphere.

“Our staff are always focused on making sure everyone gets their safely, in time and has a good experience along the way.”

To deliver on this, Transdev’s mantra for major events is “hypercare”.

“This means we elevate and lift our usual level of support for a fixed period,” Brennan said.

“For customers, it means our people are ready for the volume increase and are extra vigilant, attentive and proactive in helping customers and fixing issues.

“For our client, ALTRAC and ultimately Transport for NSW, and our partners like local authorities and emergency services, it means we manage extra risks together that come with more services, transporting larger volumes of people and crowded spaces.

“Hypercare means we may do extra cleaning of points, platforms and lift checks and ensure infrastructure teams are on hand or closeby to a venue for faster incident responses.

“It also involves us communicating more regularly and clearly about challenges and disruptions and heightened response times and fixes.

“We always flag with our partners when we lift for major events and enable and empower our people to focus on special event issues and disruptions.

“We make life easier for customers, even if it’s harder for our people.”

Transdev has also learned lessons from past events that did not go to plan.

“We came unstuck last year when weather combined with other network failures on one night,” Durand-Raucher said.

“But we learned from it. We improved our preparation and network readiness by doing things like specific track and drain clearing before events.

“We also created stronger contingency and backup planning and responses and improved communication channels that enable faster info sharing from real-time feeds.

“We also looked at crowd flow upgrades and wayfinding that could improve flow to events, making the customer experience safer, faster and more enjoyable.”

Handling disruptions well is vital for any tram network. This is  especially true when you have thousands of fans wanting to see their favourite band or team and then move out of the venue quickly and safely afterwards.

“We do scenario planning too, for likely failures and also left-of -field events. We also debrief as a team after each major event. Our clearance rates are good but we always need to learn and continuously improve,” Durand-Raucher said.

“We have a fantastic local team who look after customers and stakeholders no matter what happens during events, when disruptions occur and if systems fail.”

With record patronage, increasing major events and the new Parramatta tram line to operate this year, Sydney Light Rail continues to maintain a high customer satisfaction rating of 93 per cent. 

“This year will be another big year for major events in Sydney. Transdev is ready to keep fans off the road and moving safely and easily on public transport,” Brennan said.