Metro announced that it delivered 98.9% of 56,234 scheduled services in its first month of operation, a result it says is reasonable, but can be improved on.
However the new operator said they have some way to go to get on-time performance to acceptable levels, with 87.2% of trains in on-time to 4 minutes and 59 seconds late, (compensation threshold = 88% on-time).
“Although we exceeded our delivery targets, we’ve fallen short of our punctuality target and that’s not good enough. We apologise and compensation will be paid to customers for the late running in December. We’re not here to make excuses, we just want to focus on fixing the problems,” said CEO Andrew Lezala.
“The first month was always going to be a big challenge - we started major infrastructure works to address legacy problems, but the benefits won’t be seen overnight,” he said.
The Government has applied a tougher measurement system under the new train contract for both delivery (number of trains ‘not cancelled’) and punctuality (number of trains on-time).
For example, a train that bypasses the City Loop or doesn’t reach its final destination now contributes to the cancellation rate, whereas under the previous contract it was counted as a full service.
“Rather than thinking that these new standards will be harder to reach, we’re seeing this as raising the bar,” said Mr Lezala
The definition of an ‘on-time’ train is also different, reducing from 5 minutes and 59 seconds (previous threshold) to 4 minutes and 59 seconds.
Metro revealed that its worst punctuality occurred only three days into its contract (2nd December), when only 73 per cent of trains ran on time, largely due to a signal fault that delayed services on the Upfield, Broadmeadows, Sydenham, Werribee and Williamstown lines.
Metro insisted that these types of infrastructure failures were not acceptable.
“We have to have a dogged philosophy to finding the root cause of these faults, so we can fix them once and for all, but this will take time,” said Mr Lezala.
“In the meantime we will work on minimising delays and improving customer information when there are disruptions, to alleviate frustration when things go wrong,” he said.
Metro’s Service Commitment Code specifies that not more than two per cent of trains can be cancelled and/or not more than 12 per cent of trains can run late (to 4 minutes 59 seconds) in a month before compensation is triggered.
Metro customers with a monthly, six-monthly or yearly Metcard are eligible to receive a free daily Metcard. Eligible customers can apply for compensation by filling out a claim form available at staffed stations or through the Metro website (metrotrains.com.au).