Metro Trains Melbourne
|Area served||Melbourne, Australia|
|Key people||Andrew Lezala (CEO)|
|Owner(s)||MTR Corporation (60%),
John Holland Group (20%),
United Group Rail (20%)
Metro Trains Melbourne is the current franchise operator of the suburban railway network of Melbourne, Australia. Metro Trains Melbourne is a joint venture led by Hong Kong based MTR Corporation(60%) together with John Holland Group (20%) and United Group Rail (20%).
Metro Trains Melbourne operates a fleet of 407 three-car train sets on 837 kilometres of track. There are sixteen regular service train lines and one special events train line. The train fleet travels over 30 million kilometres and provides more than 228 million customer boardings each year, over 14,000 services each week and carries over 800,000 passengers each weekday. Metro Trains Melbourne is also responsible for 215 railway stations and employs a workforce of 3,500 rail professionals including train drivers, mechanical and electrical engineers, network operations specialists and customer service representatives.
Metro Trains Melbourne was selected as the new operator by the State Government of Victoria through its relevant agency, the Director of Public Transport, in June 2009 and replaced the previous operator Connex Melbourne on 30 November 2009. It has an eight-year contract with the option of being extended for a further seven years.
|Metro Trains Melbourne|
Melbourne railway network
|Locale||Melbourne, Victoria, Australia|
|Dates of operation||2009–|
|Track gauge||5 ft 3 in (1,600 mm)|
The Metro Trains Melbourne fleet consists of:
- 187 3-car Comeng EMUs (built 1981-1988, refurbished 2000-2003)
- 14 3-car Hitachi EMUs (built 1972-1980, refurbished 2007)
- 72 3-car Siemens EMUs (built 2002-2005, purchased by the Victorian Government)
- 134 3-car X'Trapolis EMUs (built 2002-2004; 2009–present, purchased by Connex Melbourne
- 21 Sprinter diesel multiple units hired from V/Line (used for Metro Trains Melbourne services on the unelectrified Stony Point Line)
As part of the 2008 Victorian Transport Plan, 38 new 6-car X'Trapolis EMUs have been ordered, with the first of 19 trains that are being built by Alstom in Italy arriving at the Newport Workshops on Monday, 24 August 2009 at approximately 10:00pm. The trains will be assembled at United Group's Ballarat plant, under a state government requirement for a minimum of 40% local content. The new trains will only be used in revenue service on lines already cleared for their operation, with displaced trains on these lines being cascaded to those that miss out. The first two sets (1M-1301T-2M and 3M-1302T-4M) have been delivered and are currently being introduced into mainstream service. The new X'Trapolis fleet have a different seating layout to the original X'Trapolis trains (2-2 instead of 3-2). Concerns from the Union regarding minor technical issues have delayed the entry to service for the trains from late 2009 to early 2010. The Siemens fleet already have a 2-2 seating layout, and as part of the franchise agreement, Metro Trains Melbourne are required to alter the seating layout of the Comeng and original X'Trapolis fleet to 2-2 seating. As part of the plan, the Victorian Government will also be purchasing next generation trains, with 30 per cent more room.
Lines and stations
Metro Trains Melbourne operates 16 train lines (Alamein, Belgrave, Craigieburn, Cranbourne, South Morang, Frankston, Glen Waverley, Hurstbridge, Lilydale, Pakenham, Sandringham, Stony Point, Sunbury, Upfield, Werribee and Williamstown) and 1 special events train line (Flemington Racecourse) as well as the Melbourne City Loop. They are responsible for the day-to-day operations of 212 stations. Metropolitan train stations include: terminus stations, premium stations manned by staff the entire day who provide extra assistance and information to commuters, and host stations manned only during peak hours from 7am to 9.30am.
Metro Trains Melbourne uses the myki ticketing system exclusively. Myki is a time and zone based ticketing system, with validity periods ranging from two hours to one year, and two zones covering the Melbourne metropolitan area.
Like the other modes of public transport in Victoria, Metro Trains Melbourne employs Authorised Officers (commonly known as "ticket inspectors") who exercise powers under the Transport (Compliance and Miscellaneous) Act 1983. The main responsibilities of Authorised Officers are to report ticketing and behavioural offences to the Victorian Department of Transport, provide customer information and help during special events.
Authorised Officers are authorised by the Director of Public Transport to exercise powers similar to those of police, allowing them to check tickets and verify concession entitlements. In some circumstances, Authorised Officers may also perform arrests when aboard other vehicles operating under PTV or when on Department of Transport-owned premises, such as railway stations or train tracks.
Authorised Officers are required to adhere to the Code of Conduct for Public Transport Authorised Officers. and violations of this code are prosecuted. The Code of Conduct states that an Authorised Officer may use discretion when reporting an alleged offender, and must supply their name and work address when asked. If an Authorised Officer believes that a passenger has committed an offence, they have the right to request the offender's name and address after having explained the nature of the alleged offence to the offender. The Authorised Officer also have the right to request proof of the given information. If the offender refuses to provide identification or provides false information, Authorised Officers will the contact Victoria Police. Authorised Officers also have the right to detain the offender until the police or further assistance arrives.
Authorised Officers are required to submit a Report of non-compliance with the details, specific nature and circumstances of the offence to the Department of Transport, who then processes the reports and decide upon any penalties. Any fines levied are payable to the Department, not to Metro Trains Melbourne. Metro Trains Melbourne receives a small administration fee to cover the costs associated with employing Authorised Officers.
Metro Trains Melbourne entered into a franchise contract with the relevant Government agency responsible for public transport in Melbourne, namely the Director of Public Transport. Metro Trains Melbourne took over the rail network from French-owned Connex Trains on 30 November 2009 at 3:01am. Some sections of the media criticised it during its first few days of operation, for train cancellations, including a power failure on the Glen Waverley line (due to a damaged pantograph - the mechanical linkage between the train and overhead power lines), and vandalism.
Metro failed to meet Government set targets for punctuality in all of its first 9 months in operation, with almost 1 in 4 trains being late.
Throughout 2011, Metro's performance has continued to improve. In November 2011, Metro announced that they had exceeded performance benchmarks for the fifth consecutive month - the first time this had been achieved since December 2008. Metro exceeded performance benchmarks in November for the sixth consecutive month.
As a strategy for improving train punctuality, Metro is trialling the re-introduction of platform attendants at some stations. As a train is ready to depart, the platform attendant will blow a whistle and raise a white, illuminated dispatch paddle as an indication to late passengers not to board the train.
27 July 2010 problems
On 27 July 2010, Metro Trains Melbourne experienced widespread cancellations and delays on most lines across Melbourne, impacting over 400,000 passengers. The disruptions were caused by an electrical fault between Southern Cross and Flinders Street stations. Because most trains run through these stations, the number of trains able to be moved through was severely limited. Problems with the real-time information systems at stations across Melbourne caused further difficulties for commuters. Most services resumed to normal at approximately 12:10pm. To compensate commuters for the major network disruptions, 30 July 2010 was made a free transport day on all metropolitan trams, trains and buses. This was expected to cost upwards of $1 million, a cost which was shared between the state government and Metro.
Legislation and governance
Transport Integration Act
The prime transport-related statute in Victoria is the Transport Integration Act. The Act establishes the Department of Transport as the integration agency for Victoria's transport system. The Act also establishes and sets the charters of the State agencies charged with providing public transport rail services and managing network access for freight services, namely the Director of Public Transport and V/Line. The Act authorises the Director of Public Transport to enter into contracts for the provision of transport services and this provision is the source of the power for the contract between Metro and the Director. In addition, the Transport Integration Act establishes VicTrack which owns the public rail network and associated infrastructure. VicTrack leases public transport land and infrastructure to the Director of Public Transport who leases it to transport operators such as Metro as well as entering into franchise agreements with the operators for them to run public transport services on behalf of the State.
Rail Safety Act
The safety of rail transport operations in Melbourne is regulated by the Rail Safety Act 2006 which applies to all commercial passenger operations. The Act establishes a framework containing safety duties for all rail industry participants and requires operators who manage infrastructure and rolling stock to obtain accreditation prior to commencing operations. Accredited operators are also required to have a safety management system to guide their operations. Sanctions applying to the safety scheme established under the Rail Safety Act are contained in the Transport (Compliance and Miscellaneous) Act 1983. The safety regulator for the rail system in Melbourne including trams is the Director, Transport Safety (trading as Transport Safety Victoria) whose office is established under the Transport Integration Act 2010. No blame investigations for rail matters are undertaken by the Chief Investigator, Transport Safety.
Ticketing and conduct
Ticketing requirements for trains, trams and buses in Melbourne are mainly contained in the Transport (Ticketing) Regulations 2006 and the Victorian Fares and Ticketing Manual. Rules about safe and fair conduct on trains, trams and buses in Melbourne are generally contained in the Transport (Compliance and Miscellaneous) Act 1983 and the Transport (Conduct) Regulations 2005.
Criticism and controversy
May 2011 Timetable Changes
Metro Trains updated the running schedules in May 2011 in order to alleviate late running (and thus penalties). In reality, in many cases services were simply given a few more minutes per trip in order to offset any late running. In some instances, some trains are required to wait at stations mid-journey in order to return to schedule. Many passengers criticised this move, with some saying that effort should be placed on upgrading infrastructure to allow more efficient operation rather than padding timetables to suit the operator.
Since implementing this timetable Metro Trains have reached punctuality targets each month, and have not been required to compensate eligible passengers. The only exception to this has been May 2011, the first month of operation.
In June 2011, 2500 Melbourne commuters were able to vote whether they thought Metro was a good system. The vote consisted of: reliability and performance, comfort of trains, safety, timetables and scheduling, and signage and announcements. The vote took place in all of Australia. Melbourne came last out of all the states; Perth coming first, Queensland Rail and Adeliade Metro coming equal second, City Rail third and Metro Melbourne last. Overcrowding was a particular concern.
In January 2012 Metro Trains ceased using their official Twitter feed to advise of train service cancellations and disruptions, instead choosing to provide only major disruptions, planned alterations to services and other announcements. Users seeking up-to-date service information were directed to use the Metro Trains website instead. This move provoked outrage from customers, many of whom considered the Twitter feed to be a more accessible source of information and see the current tweets to be nothing other than carefully worded spin.
A number of unofficial Twitter accounts have since been established providing delay and cancellation information either on a line-by-line basis or for the entire network. This information is obtained directly from Metro Trains via web scraping.
Skip stations & early service terminations
In April 2012, Metro Trains has acknowledged the practice of altering stopping condition of selected late-running trains (for example, stopping all station to express) in an attempt to make up lost time (thus meeting the Operational Performance Regime  set by the State Government of Victoria). It has also been reported that selected services have terminated (turnaround) ahead of timetabled destination, forcing passengers to change in mid-journey. Metro Trains make these changes throughout the day, including peak hours. It claim such is for the greater good, however such can be very inconvenient to outer suburban passengers, who are forced to wait up to an hour between services. These come after Metro Trains failed to meet punctuality target in February 2012 and March 2012. It has been reported that the incidence of altered services has become more frequent since the introduction of the network wide new timetables on 22 April. Reportedly, at least 129 drivers' incident reports from mid-April to May record services that have been altered in the form of changing a stopping-all-stations to express or terminating a service early.
In June 2012, Metro was fined $2.7 million for January to March 2012 quarter for service performance, including skipping stations, running shorter services and bypass City Loop stations. "... but too often it had resorted to running short services or bypassing the city loop to keep to the timetable." as stated by Public Transport Victoria Chief Executive Ian Dobbs.
In May 2012, Rail, Tram and Bus Union (Locomotive Division) accused Metro Trains taking short cut in safety procedures, including not checking on-board CCTV and intercoms, and allow trains with cracked inner glass to take passengers. Metro Trains claim safety equipments are regularly checked during routine maintenance.
Live service update not showing cancelled trains
On 16 July 2012, Metro Trains launched a revamped website which included a healthboard that displayed live information about train delays and disruptions, both planned and unplanned. However, details of cancelled services were removed. Metro Trains stated that such information was still available via SMS alerts, however the number of people subscribed to the alerts plunged 60% in six months (13,000 subscribers in mid-2012 when compared to 32,000 at beginning of 2012) due to a growing preference for people to use smartphones.
State Government concerned on station skipping to meet target
A ministerial document shows the State Government raised concerns that some station skipping may not be warranted. "There have been some instances where the decision appears to be not in the best interest of commuters ...". "The train driver's union, Public Transport Users Association and the Opposition are calling for Metro's bonuses (worth $3.38 million last year) to be scrapped if achieved by shortcuts ... Rail, Tram and Bus Union locomotive secretary Marc Marotta said station skipping had gone from an emergency practice to a daily practice under Metro, with Frankston and Craigieburn lines the worst affected." In summary: 59 stations were skipped 3 or more times a week between 22 April 2012 and 10 October 2012; an Alamein train which skipped Glenferrie when it was a mere three minutes late; 1998 (or 0.46% of monthly trains) have altered to express since September 2012; 9 drivers have complained about passenger abuse.
Signalling work run overtime causing peak hour chaos
|This section may require copy-editing. (May 2013)|
On 29 April 2013, morning and afternoon peak hour commuters experienced long delays, service cancellations and alterations, and overcrowded trains on Werribee, Williamstown, Craigieburn, Cranbourne, Pakenham and Frankston lines after a planned 4-day upgrade to signalling system (to accommodate Regional Rail Link project) run overtime. "Twenty minute delays are also expected to affect the Sunbury and Upfield lines". V/Line train services to Traralgon are also affected, with replacement coaches operating between Southern Cross and Pakenham.
Dumb ways to die
In November 2012, Metro launched the safety campaign Dumb Ways to Die which became a global viral video hit through sharing and social media. It also produced merchandise such as posters, stickers and badges.
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- "Record punctuality for February". Metro Trains Melbourne. 2013-03-12. Retrieved 2013-03-12. Text " Metro Trains " ignored (help)
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- "Tuesday 27 July - Major delays and disruptions".
- Levy, Lucas, Megan, Clay (27 July 2010). "Frustrated commuters to travel 'free' after Metro rail meltdown". The Age (Melbourne). Retrieved 27 July 2010.
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- Transport Integration Act, section 68(1)(b).
- Official copy of the Rail Safety Act from the Victorian Government legislation web site - http://www.legislation.vic.gov.au/Domino/Web_Notes/LDMS/LTObject_Store/LTObjSt3.nsf/DDE300B846EED9C7CA257616000A3571/6D4190C62DE6207FCA257761002C568A/$FILE/06-9a016.pdf
- See Part 7 of the Act. Official copy of the Transport (Compliance and Miscellaneous) Act 1983 from the official Victorian Government legislation site - http://www.legislation.vic.gov.au/Domino/Web_Notes/LDMS/LTObject_Store/LTObjSt5.nsf/DDE300B846EED9C7CA257616000A3571/7BB774D3E0245B77CA2577CE00030B90/$FILE/83-9921a153.pdf
- Transport (Ticketing) Regulations 2006
- Victorian Fares and Ticketing Manual - Metlink - Your guide to public transport in Melbourne and Victoria
- Victorian Law Today Act
- Victorian Law Today Statutory Rule
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