Victoria Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan
More Trains On Time And Station Skipping At Record Lows
Victor P Taffa
New data shows station skipping has fallen 90 % under the Andrews Government, and is now at record lows.
“Since early last year, punctuality has improved and station skipping has fallen by 90 % meaning more trains on time, and stopping at the stations they should.” Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan said.
Since the Government started publishing data on the practice in May last year, the number of unplanned express services has fallen from 190 (April-June 2015) to just 18 in the three months to October 2016.
This trend has continued, with only two trains running as unplanned express for the entire month of October.
At the same time, Metro’s punctuality has improved from 91.5 % mid-last year to 92.6 % in July-September 2016, meaning more trains on time across the network.
When Public Transport Victoria (PTV) started recording station skipping at the start of 2013 they found 305 services ran express through at least one station on their journey.
That number sky-rocketed under the former Liberal Government to 790 unplanned express services in mid-2014.
“Station skipping exploded under the former Liberal Government, who was happy to let passengers get hijacked rather fighting on their behalf.” Ms. Allan said.
While skipping stations is necessary in extreme circumstances to return to scheduled services after a major disruption the new data shows the levels it hit under the last Liberal Government were completely unjustifiable.
The State Government is looking to crack-down on station skipping even further through the new contract for operation of the metropolitan transport system.
“The new contract will crack-down on station skipping even further, ensuring more trains arrive where they should, when they should, so people can properly plan their lives.” Ms. Allan said.
Request for Proposal (RFP) issued in September includes higher targets for punctuality and reliability, and better monitoring of service delivery.
Under terms set out in the RFP, services will be measured at all scheduled stations, rather than just a few points on their journey, meaning operators can’t skip stations to make up time and avoid penalties.
Putting Commuters Front And Centre Of Decision Making
Unless the train was a scheduled express service there should be zero tolerance for station skipping.
This should be the case in every State or Territory whether it was a Labor or a Liberal/National Coalition Government.
Commuters should be put Front and Centre of decision making and not as they are now in many cases as last and an afterthought.
Commuters are often just an afterthought when all Governments cut Railway Lines such as in Newcastle, New South Wales or the Bankstown and Epping-Chatswood Lines in New South Wales and thinks that another Rail Technology is better when in fact it is old, rigid and inflexible.
Commuters would be put Front and Centre if existing Rail Corridors were duplicated or quadrupled and electrified. While this will require an increased budget it is the roads budget that gets the lion’s share of funding for expensive and poorly planned toll roads.
High Speed Rail (HSR) Putting Commuters Front And Centre Of Decision Making
Capital City-Capital City High Speed Rail (HSR) aka Japan’s Bullet Train at 450 km/h also puts Commuters Front and Centre rather than last and an afterthought as HSR will give people choice of mode of travel and there will be genuine competition in Transport.
HSR will also see a revival in Regional Railways and Travel Agents will increase business in Regional areas with localised packages that currently has no market.
HSR will have seasonal packages to offer commuters on top of normal travel arrangements.