Punctual off-peak trains help Metro meet its performance targets

 

News article: Punctual off-peak trains help Metro meet its performance targets

Metro's consistent ability in recent years to meet punctuality targets set by the state government is mostly achieved by running trains on time outside of peak hour and on weekends when the system is much quieter.

  8077 Chief Train Controller

Location: Crossing the Rubicon
Metro's consistent ability in recent years to meet punctuality targets set by the state government is mostly achieved by running trains on time outside of peak hour and on weekends when the system is much quieter.

But Melbourne's rail operator falls short of its 88 per cent punctuality target in the morning peak when the network is busiest, and scrapes across the compensation threshold in the evening peak, leaked internal records show.
Punctual off-peak trains help Metro meet its performance targets

Being on time for off peak services is the easy part.  How about Metro focus on the peak times when being on time is most important.

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  railblogger Chief Commissioner

Location: At the back of the train, quitely doing exactly what you'd expect.
Does anyone know what this new automated system entails?
  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere
The same is true of pretty much any urban / suburban rail network where ever you look.

Peak times are by definition busier - there are more trains and more passengers and when you combine that mix there is more potential for delay no matter how well run the railway is.

The fact that Metro is meeting its targets suggests that the network as a whole is being run reasonably well.  Connex seemed to be rather poorer at achieving less demanding targets with fewer trains for example.

When there is the unpredictable and sometimes erratic behaviour of the Great Australian Public to factor in it might be a surprise to some that Metro manages as well as it does.  Every time a school-kid holds a door open for their mates, every time a train develops a fault (which requires contact with Metrol whether or not the train is still able to run), every time wild weather interrupts the service, even a train which happens, quite reasonably, to collect multiple wheelchair users along its journey - all of these are beyond Metro's control but affect performance.  

Metro has been accused of "cheating" and skipping stops to meet its target.  Yes stops are skipped on some occasions but almost always when there is another train within a few minutes of the late runner which is trying to regain time.  The alternative is to serve all stops, collect possibly a double loading of passengers which takes more time and become even later.  Ultimately the train is then so late that a trip has to be lost altogether.  

"Bashing" the local rail operator is virtually a world-wide sport.  Metro does better than many at its task.
  712M Chief Commissioner

The state government clearly need to review the penalties for cancelled trains. Whichever way you like to turn it, forcing a train to skip stations IS a cancelled service for anyone travelling to or from these stations and should be recorded as such.

Metro do regularly skip stops in off peak, weekends and on lines that do not see frequent peak services. The same should be considered for trains terminating/originating short. For example as a Cranbourne line passenger it is not uncommon to rock up at the station with no train waiting there only to discover via Metro website that my train is originating at Dandenong. This is not recorded as a late or cancelled service despite everyone now being 15 minutes late for work! The same thing regularly happens inbound during the afternoon peak leaving a gap of 60 minutes between trains.

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