QR To Recruit An Extra 200 Train Drivers And 200 Guards

QR To Recruit An Extra 200 Train Drivers And 200 Guards

Queensland Minister for Transport Stirling Hinchliffe

Queensland Minister for Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Stirling Hinchliffe

Plan To Restore Queensland Rail Frontline Services And Delivery

Victor P Taffa

Queensland Rail (QR) will undertake the further recruitment of 100 additional drivers and an extra 100 guards as part of a 5-point plan to restore services for the travelling public.

Minister for Transport and the Commonwealth Games Stirling Hinchliffe said Cabinet had today been briefed on the report from the Queensland Rail board received last night.

“In total, QR will be recruiting an extra 200 drivers and an extra 200 guards. Of the 100 drivers approved last year, 79 drivers have already been recruited and 74 guards have also been recruited.” Mr. Hinchliffe said.

“In the interim a new timetable for weekday services has been developed by QR. This timetable will start tomorrow with a 2.3% reduction in daily services.”

The 5-point plan requires QR to:

  1. Initiate the recruitment of an additional 100 drivers tomorrow;
  2. Complete the recruitment and training of 100 additional drivers and 100 additional guards approved by the Government in November 2015;
  3. Deliver the interim timetable to minimise the disruption to the travelling public;
  4. Maintain the supply of train drivers by ensuring guards are stationed and trained on the Next Generation Rollingstock, providing a pipeline of future drivers with route knowledge;
  5. Work with its employees to develop more flexible working arrangements, including part-time arrangements, boosting the longevity of the existing workforce and creating driver roster flexibility

“After meeting with Queensland Rail CEO Helen Gluer this morning and advice from the QR Board last night, Cabinet has been briefed on the roll out of an interim timetable and the next steps including the recruitment of additional drivers.” Mr. Hinchliffe said.

“The Government and the public have the highest expectations when it comes to the delivery of our core services.”

“On behalf of the Government I also apologise that Queensland Rail hasn’t delivered to the high standards that we set for ourselves.” Mr. Hinchliffe said.

“The Government’s priority since being made aware of this on Thursday night was to make sure our customers received the most up to date information and be provided with the high quality service they are used to.”

“Despite clear and repeated advice from QR that it was prepared for the extra services with the opening of the Redcliffe Peninsula line services, it is now clear that this was not achieved.”

“After being advised on Thursday evening by QR of the need to cancel services due to a shortage of drivers, on Friday I convened an urgent meeting of Queensland Rail and the Department of Transport and Main Roads on Friday and approved the development of today’s interim timetable.” Mr. Hinchliffe said.

“That’s why I instructed the Queensland Rail Board to meet yesterday and I addressed the Board, making it clear the Government’s expectations of service delivery.”

“On time performance for QR in August and September was between 95% and 96%. It is expected to be 91% for October. This is not acceptable to the Government and more importantly, it’s unacceptable to the travelling public.” Mr. Hinchliffe said.

“Queensland Rail and TransLink have a responsibility to the traveling public to deliver the best and highest level of service possible.”

“It is the responsibility of the Government to ensure that our rail operator has the resources it requires to do the job and our plan today does that.”

“Queensland Rail and TransLink will continue to make operational updates on the status of the services timetabled to be provided.” Mr. Hinchliffe said.

Interim Timetable

The interim timetable developed by QR has sought to minimise disruption.

Under the interim timetable, there will be the cancellation of 30 services and the alteration or partial cancellation of 11 other services.

The number of train services will be reduced from 1,306 per day to 1,276 per day (or 2.3%) under the interim timetable for Monday to Thursday.

25 of the cancelled services will have a wait of less than 15 minutes to the next service. The other five cancelled services will have a wait of less than 30 minutes for the next service.

For Fridays, 32 services will be cancelled and 21 will be altered or partially cancelled, reducing the number of train services from 1,342 to 1,310 a day (or 2.4%).

The total number of services under the interim timetable remains higher than before the Redcliffe Peninsula line became operational of October 4 when there were a total number of 1,218 services on Monday to Thursday and 1,244 on Friday.

“As the Board has confirmed to me, all advice to Government was that Queensland Rail could meet the requirements of the new timetabled services. We now know that that was not the case and the Queensland Rail Chief Executive Officer has apologised and is addressing those concerns through the interim timetable released with me today.” Mr. Hinchliffe said.