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Queensland Transport has been ordered to conduct an audit of the maintenance problems on southeast Queensland’s city rail network by new Transport Minister Scott Emerson.
Queensland Rail holds the maintenance contract for the city train network.
An interim report must be finished by May 31 and the final report finalised by June 30.
In his first media conference since winning office at the state election, Mr Emerson said he wanted to restore public confidence and improve the reliability of the rail network after major problems in the first months of 2012.
In mid-March maintenance faults shut down large swathes of the city train network, leaving tens of thousands of commuters stranded for hours.
After a February failure, then-Premier Anna Bligh ordered a day’s free public transport to apologise to commuters for the problem.
Mr Emerson said the audit would look at equipment and maintenance processes to eliminate systematic problems in the network.
‘‘So it is about improving the reliability, ensuring the commuters can have confidence in the system,’’ he said.
‘‘And I think what we saw in those incidents in late February and March was that the public’s confidence in the system was undermined.’'
Translink now demands at least 93.77 per cent of Queensland Rail services must be on time.
The latest results show in the last quarter of 2011 rail services performed better than Translink’s minimum standard for the first time since the January to March quarter of 2011.
The major disruptions in February and March 2012 are likely to mean that city train services will fall back below Translink’s standards for the first quarter of 2012, January to March 2012.
The audit will identify what went wrong during the two previous maintenance breakdowns and what the situation was that led to the breakdowns, he said.
They will have to complete ‘‘rail-by-rail’’ inspections of the rail network, including the overhead structures, the power systems and the future maintenance plans for the rail network.
‘‘And, more importantly what needs to be done to stop similar failures occurring in the future,’’ he said.
The audit will be done in-house and will not cost taxpayers anything outside Queensland Transport’s budget, Mr Emerson said.
He said part of the reason why rail patronage figures were falling was partly due to the unreliability of the rail network.
‘‘Affordability, but also reliability. Let’s not forget that we have seen four million fewer trips taken in the six months up to December, compared to the same period the previous year.’’
Translink has scheduled annual 15 per cent fare increases on January 1 each year.
The LNP Government has pledged to halve these annual increases to 7.5 per cent.
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