V/Line auditor general's report

 
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
As noted in this thread and other announcements, V/Line is subject to an audit by VAGO.

Details at this link, description provided below

http://www.audit.vic.gov.au/audits_in_progress/audit_details.aspx#Passenger

V/Line, a public sector corporation, is Australia’s largest regional public transport operator—in 2015–16, it carried 17.7 million train and coach passengers. However, V/Line has struggled to deliver on its operational performance thresholds and targets in a challenging environment, consistently failing to meet its targets for punctuality. Additionally, overall customer satisfaction for regional trains over the past three years has fallen.

V/Line faces the challenge of improving its performance in the face of expected further passenger increases and in a strict fiscal environment.

This audit will examine how V/Line is managing these current and future challenges. It will also examine the support provided by the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources, and the Department of Treasury and Finance.

The report is expected to be tabled in August 2017.


Interestingly, this report was supposed to be delivered to parliament in May 2017.  This was pushed back to June 2017.  Now, the report is due to parliament by August 2017.

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  x31 Chief Commissioner

Location: gallifrey
This will be a good read and lets hope all the facts are in the report.
  historian Deputy Commissioner

This is a standard VAGO performance audit. A performance audit examines whether the agency is efficiently delivering the function specified by its act, and what are the problems it is facing in delivering the function.

The reasons VAGO decides to audit particular agencies are not made public, but 1) all agencies can be expected to be audited periodically, and 2) they do tend to focus on agencies/areas that are facing challenges. A performance audit is *not* an indication that VAGO considers the agency badly run (or worse).

I have the greatest respect for VAGO, and I am very confident that it will be a balanced judgement about the areas examined. I particularly have no concern about whether the report will include all relevant facts.

The fact that the report is being pushed back is not particularly unusual. VAGO itself has resource limitations and has an ambitious audit work program. The agencies involved have the right to respond to the audit before it is published, and this can take time. The reports also have to be tabled in Parliament, and the 'slots' available for this are limited.
  Carnot Minister for Railways
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
Happy reading:
https://www.audit.vic.gov.au/report/vline-passenger-services?section=32538#chapter-1
Carnot
"V/Line measures and reports train punctuality and reliability against the timetable communicated to passengers in PTV's journey planner, rather than the master timetable. This approach means that V/Line's reported performance does not represent its actual performance, or necessarily reflect passengers' experience, especially when there are significant service changes. This was highlighted during early 2016 when, despite the wheel wear and boom gate problems—and the replacement of 350 trains with coaches every week—V/Line's publicly reported performance suggested that little had changed."

Gold. Absolute GOLD!

BG
  Carnot Minister for Railways

I found a few nuggets on asset management. ie. Maintenance backlog across the network is $537 million! Ouch.
  x31 Chief Commissioner

Location: gallifrey
The maintenance backlog is not unexpected and I would have thought would have been more due to the continued underfunding of the network including hampering freight services.

It is clear from this report V/Line has been very poorly run and poorly funded probably causing the libs to loose office a term ago.  A cultural and management shift is clearly required and should be managed ongoing.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Happy reading:
https://www.audit.vic.gov.au/report/vline-passenger-services?section=32538#chapter-1
"V/Line measures and reports train punctuality and reliability against the timetable communicated to passengers in PTV's journey planner, rather than the master timetable. This approach means that V/Line's reported performance does not represent its actual performance, or necessarily reflect passengers' experience, especially when there are significant service changes. This was highlighted during early 2016 when, despite the wheel wear and boom gate problems—and the replacement of 350 trains with coaches every week—V/Line's publicly reported performance suggested that little had changed."

Gold. Absolute GOLD!

BG
BrentonGolding

So what we are being told is bogus like we thought all along.  Seriously when is the government going to get past their spin and get to the business of properly funding and operating what is core business the efficient management of this vital economic resource.  V/Line.
  Carnot Minister for Railways

One of the most illuminating facts is that a huge percentage of Geelong train passengers board or disembark at Tarneit and Wyndham Vale.  They need to hurry up and electrify this section.  Probably quite cost effective given how expensive new rolling stock is.

It's an increasingly similar problem on the Seymour line too (i.e from Wallan).
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
One of the most illuminating facts is that a huge percentage of Geelong train passengers board or disembark at Tarneit and Wyndham Vale.  They need to hurry up and electrify this section.  Probably quite cost effective given how expensive new rolling stock is.
Carnot

There would not be a plan to do this would there?

We need 15 minute frequencies on the line between Deer Park and Geelong with electrification the entire way at least kin the extended peaks.

if you removed the Tarneit and Wyndham Vale numbers would we have experienced any growth on the network?
  skitz Chief Commissioner

One of the most illuminating facts is that a huge percentage of Geelong train passengers board or disembark at Tarneit and Wyndham Vale.  They need to hurry up and electrify this section.  Probably quite cost effective given how expensive new rolling stock is.

There would not be a plan to do this would there?

We need 15 minute frequencies on the line between Deer Park and Geelong with electrification the entire way at least kin the extended peaks.

if you removed the Tarneit and Wyndham Vale numbers would we have experienced any growth on the network?
bevans
Also not forgetting that the majority of rolling stock for this task is inadequate due to the door layout and delays in dwell time given the loading pattern.

The aspect that I see as the most significant in the report is the multiple layers of players in the departments.  All looking at each other waiting for a decision.  A perfect scenario for lost responsibility, lost accountability and poor performance.  throw in the Metro layer and it no wonder.

Cant see it being addressed in a hurry. Cant hep but think its a 'Victorian thing' - hopeless.
  Tony M. Locomotive Fireman

I'm constantly amazed at the way people react to finding out that the RRL was just a half-arsed way to extend suburban rail to the west using Vline stock like it was some kind of new news. It was perfectly obvious when it was announced close to a decade ago that the plan had nothing to do with improving the service to Geelong, and would actually reduce the quality of the trip for Geelong passengers. And yet every time someone figures out that RRL was all about improving services to the outer West it's treated as if it was some shock discovery.

I often travel on the Geelong line so I can't say I'm happy about the changes made or the current state of the service, but anyone with eyes to see knew this was going to be the result - and more importantly, that this was the intended result of the RRL. I know that previous governments spruiked the improvements for rural passengers and so made a rod for their own back, but what would be real news would be if these reports said something like "Victorian rail service massively improved for Tarniet and Wyndham Vale passengers". Because that was clearly the intention all along.

(whether the RRL was the best way to extend services west is another matter. The original plan to connect Wyndham Vale to Werribee might have eased some of the burden on Vline, but there are so many passengers boarding at Tarniet these days we'd still have a version of our current problem)
  woodford Chief Commissioner

The major problem is its only a report, the government apparently need not act on it. In the late 1990's the Victorian Auditor General did a report on the railways and was severely critical of the almost total lack of preventive maintence which left a significant proportion of the fleet incapable of any kind of decent performance, this appears NEVER have been addressed in any kind of meaning full way.

We are back to square one..............................................

woodford
  Valvegear Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Norda Fittazroy
Wouldn't it be nice to reincarnate Harold Clapp.
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
what would be real news would be if these reports said something like "Victorian rail service massively improved for Tarniet and Wyndham Vale passengers". Because that was clearly the intention all along.

(whether the RRL was the best way to extend services west is another matter. The original plan to connect Wyndham Vale to Werribee might have eased some of the burden on Vline, but there are so many passengers boarding at Tarniet these days we'd still have a version of our current problem)
Tony M.
You are spot on Tony but therein lies the problem - Tarneit, Wyndham Vale and Werribee are metropolitan areas not regional and should / should have been serviced by Metro services not V/Line all along.

Of course this then creates the second problem as illustrated by the Bendigo line where the RRL was sold as a solution to separating Regional and Metropolitan train services. It does nothing of the sort and whilst the service may have not gotten any worse since the RRL (I catch it a lot now but didn't prior to the RRL) Bendigo line and other pax put up with years of disruptions and buses for nothing it seems.

The real solution which is to totally separate the 2 services such as with the idea of running Bendigo via Melbourne Airport / Clarkefield should have been the plan all along.

Of course as usual these comments come with the caveat that VLine are victims of there own success here to a large extent - no-one foresaw the massive growth in patronage on services such as Bendigo, Ballarat and Geelong that sprung out of the RFR project although one could argue that by the time the RRL was being planned they probably should have known that it was occurring.

BG
  t_woodroffe Assistant Commissioner

Woodford,

Could you please provide a link to the Victorian Auditor General's report from the late 1990's that states " an almost total lack of preventative maintenance etc etc"?

I could not find anything on a quick Google but I did find this which is apposite:

http://www.pc.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/35283/sub082.pdf

TW
  DalyWaters Chief Commissioner



Of course as usual these comments come with the caveat that VLine are victims of there own success here to a large extent - no-one foresaw the massive growth in patronage on services such as Bendigo, Ballarat and Geelong that sprung out of the RFR project although one could argue that by the time the RRL was being planned they probably should have known that it was occurring.

BG
BrentonGolding
Au contraire, in my opinion.

No one foresaw the massive growth in patronage when the Government s--t themselves in fear that the massive amount they spent on RFR was going to be a failure so they lowered the fares by 20%.

That brought about the patronage growth.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Au contraire, in my opinion.

No one foresaw the massive growth in patronage when the Government s--t themselves in fear that the massive amount they spent on RFR was going to be a failure so they lowered the fares by 20%.

That brought about the patronage growth.
DalyWaters

https://www.railpage.com.au/news/s/regional-rail-link-creates-more-woes-for-v-line-passengers sets out some interesting points.  I myself can't imagine why this growth was not only planned for but new services lined up to deliver it.  Extremely poor work on the part of the PTV.
  historian Deputy Commissioner

Woodford,

Could you please provide a link to the Victorian Auditor General's report from the late 1990's that states " an almost total lack of preventative maintenance etc etc"?

I could not find anything on a quick Google but I did find this which is apposite:

http://www.pc.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/35283/sub082.pdf

TW
t_woodroffe

Woodford may be referring to this report...

http://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/papers/govpub/VPARL1998-99No14.pdf
  woodford Chief Commissioner

Woodford,

Could you please provide a link to the Victorian Auditor General's report from the late 1990's that states " an almost total lack of preventative maintenance etc etc"?

I could not find anything on a quick Google but I did find this which is apposite:

http://www.pc.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/35283/sub082.pdf

TW

Woodford may be referring to this report...

http://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/papers/govpub/VPARL1998-99No14.pdf
historian
I do not know, this report is very hard on tram maintenence,saying there was little preventive maintenence, this MAY be what I was refering to. I will have to read it through. The problem being I as yet cannot find a section refering to VLines performance in the mid 1990's I read from the report I saw quite some time ago.

Shows the dangers we all face trying to recall the past in order to help the future. Unless one can ACTUALLY bring forward detailed evidence to backup a claim it DOES need to be treated with extreme scepticism. Woodford apologises for the error.

woodford
  Valvegear Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Norda Fittazroy
Woodford,
Thanks for your writings, but do we really need HEAVILY BLACKED UPPER CASE so often? Most of us can read and understand English quite well without the need for hammer blows.

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