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V/Line punctuality and overcrowding

Melbourne / Victoria Transport Discussion

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V/Line punctuality and overcrowding

Postby Roderick Smith » Thu Mar 09, 2017 12:24 pm

ARTC is more at home with IP and Ghan (cruise ships on rails), and not with a genuine intercity service.


Australian Rail Track Corporation lease says it’s fine to run late on Albury rail line, 8 Mar 2017.
Trains running up to 30 minutes late on the Albury line are considered an acceptable benchmark by Australian Rail Track Corporation.
Following pressure in Senate estimates hearings in Canberra last week, the ARTC has released the previously secret lease it holds with the Victorian government around performance on the rail track.
The documents reveal a delay of 30 minutes per trip is the benchmark to meet the requirements with the government, but the target was only up to 20 minutes.
The Border Rail Action Group and Senator Janet Rice, who pressed the ARTC with questions in Canberra, say the targets are not good enough.
“It’s pretty appalling – that’s not what people think is acceptable on the train,” Senator Rice told The Border Mail.
“It seems like the residents that are using this line are getting a dud deal.”
It seems like the residents that are using this line are getting a dud deal.- Senator Janet Rice.
Documents also revealed the ARTC had comfortably met its targets around the line’s key performance indicators between July and December 2016.
BRAG member John Dunstan said he suspected the numbers were averaged out to look positive because, even though there were about 23 small speed restrictions between Albury and Melbourne, the rest of the line ran smoothly.
“It’s obviously a very soft target,” he said. “It’s especially impossible to read a book going down to Melbourne now (because of bumps caused by mud holes).”
Mr Dunstan and Senator Rice called for the ARTC to go a step further and release the “schedule of agreement” with the Victorian government, detailing how the KPIs were determined.
“It’s good that we’ve got some information about the KPIs, but we really need to have more than that to see how they have been trending over time,” Senator Rice said.
“I don’t know how these compare to other services.”
She called on the ARTC to acknowledge the poor state of the Albury line and commit to a long-term investment.
“We know that people will use a top-quality rail service,” she said.
Indi MP Cathy McGowan said the “soft” targets did not compare to what was considered acceptable service on metropolitan passenger lines.
Is it acceptable for trains to run 30 minutes late on the Albury line?
Yes. It's a long trip from Melbourne and delays are inevitable.
No. It's not unreasonable to expect the train to run on time.
VoteView Results
The MP will also write to Transport Minister Darren Chester asking for more information to fill in the gaps of the ARTC’s report before he visits Indi.
“Under current contractual arrangements, the North East line will never meet the standards set for premium passenger rail lines elsewhere in Victoria,” Ms McGowan said.
“Rail users in Indi are looking forward to the minister’s answers to fix the service.”
http://www.bordermail.com.au/story/4511 ... -rail-line
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Re: Long-distance punctuality

Postby burrumbus » Thu Mar 09, 2017 5:37 pm

Thanks Roderick for the post.
This is a huge issue in this area with the Albury-Melbourne service really as an unreliable joke,with replacement by coaches a very,very regular occurence.
Unfortunately it has become a political football between the Vic and Federal governments,V/Line and the ARTC with no one taking the bit between their teeth and working toward a long term viable solution.
It seems the upgrade done to the line several years ago was done on the cheap with subsequent operational problems with the line.This is compounded by old rolling stock and no spare locos and carriages.If something goes wrong its straight to replacement coaches.
If a small or medium size bus operator operated their services to the same standards the government would pull their accreditation.
There is good solid demand for a reliable rail service on this corridor.The unreliabilty of the service just prevents the service operating to its true passenger potential.
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Re: Long-distance punctuality

Postby krustyklo » Thu Mar 09, 2017 7:09 pm

At the risk of lowering the level of hyperbole here, let's express lateness targets for Metro and Vline as percentages of time taken:
Albury Line: 30 minutes late on journeys of 230 minutes (fastest journey - 12.05pm from Melbourne) = 30/230 = journeys can take 13.04% longer than allowed before triggering contractual compensation.

Let's compare this with the normal Metro level of 5 minutes (300 seconds) being late, Vline "short distance" (Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo, Seymour, Traralgon) being late from 6 minutes (360 seconds) and Vline long distance (Warrnambool, Ararat, Maryborough, Swan Hill, Echuca, Shepparton, Albury, Bairnsdale) being late from 11 minutes (from https://www.ptv.vic.gov.au/about-ptv/ptv-data-and-reports/track-record-2/ which defines times and distances - note the PTV definition of late is 11 minutes compared to ARTC defintion of 30 minutes according to the article - if an Albury train is between 11 and 30 minutes late due to ARTC causes, Vline pays but ARTC doesn't).

Alamein line: 27 minutes is the longest journey I can find in the am anti-peak = 5/27 = journeys can take 18.52% longer than allowed before triggering contractual compensation. So later by percentage of promised journey time than Albury line.
Williamstown line: 30 minutes (am anti-peak) - 5/30 = journeys can take 16.67% longer than allowed before triggering contractual compensation. So later by percentage of promised journey time than Albury line.
Woodend to Southern Cross: 66 minutes (am anti-peak) = journeys can take 9.09% longer. So less late for compensation purposes.
Bacchus Marsh to Southern Cross: 55 minutes (most journeys much less) = journeys can take 9.09% longer (although for most journeys this figure is 6/40 = 15%)

So already, there are lines theoretically worse off in the Metro area in terms of journey time whose journey times can be extended by more than the Albury line before compensation is triggered. In fact, short distance Vline lines get compensated far more quickly than the Albury line for supposed disadvantage. But wait! This is compensation to Vline by ARTC. In terms of actual compensation, Albury passengers get compensated in reality by Vline after trains run 11 minutes late, NOT 30. So as long as trains don't run more than 4.8% late compared to the journey time, then passengers get the journey time they are promised. The longest journey times I can find are all stations to Pakenham via the loop which take 81 minutes which get compensated if the journey takes 6.81% longer than promised. Albury line passengers can be assured that in terms of the operator, they are actually compensated for the least inconvenience by percentage than anyone else in the state. It is actually Vline's problem if trains take longer than 11 minutes to complete the journey, and I suspect Vline via the state government have far more incentive and clout to improve late running caused by ARTC than any individual passenger...

Tl;dr - the system works as designed with the incentives to improve service levels such as late running being given to those with increasing power to affect outcomes. Nothing to see here...

(See also, the UK example of National Rail vs operators)
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Re: Long-distance punctuality

Postby Roderick Smith » Thu Mar 09, 2017 8:14 pm

'krustyklo' has reinforced my comments. Every journey which can be compared with Albury is late after 11 min. ARTC has a philosophy based on it Nullarbor running. The Albury line is now substantially double track, with so-called 'passing lanes' on the rest. There is no excuse for 30 min to be acceptable. ARTC is also the mob which couldn't find a path for XPT out of Brisbane except at 4.55.

Of course, the whole silly UK idea of rewards and penalties has backfired: the operators play chess with the government, with passengers as pawns. The arrogant twitty spin doctors: we told you that you would lose an hour, because we announced the bustitution in advance, and we won't be penalised.

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Re: Long-distance punctuality

Postby burrumbus » Thu Mar 09, 2017 8:30 pm

The big political issue up here is the constant shuffle between train and bus.In other words the pax really don't know whether they will have a train or bus for their journey.Many pax actually find the coaches more reliable on journey time than the trains.When the trains do run late they really run late.Therefore pax are put off travelling on the service,not knowing if they connect with other trains ,planes or make appointments on time.
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Geelong unreliability

Postby Roderick Smith » Wed Mar 15, 2017 1:25 pm

VLine Geelong still the third most unreliable of all Victorian country lines.
Geelong Advertiser March 12, 2017.
GEELONG’S train service remains the third most unreliable of Victoria’s 11 country lines, despite being more punctual in February than the month before.
Public Transport Victoria published VLine’s performance results for February, with 82.6 per cent of services delivered on time or no later than six minutes after the scheduled arrival time.
The result was slightly higher for the Geelong line, 84.8 per cent, which is now the fourth most punctual service of Victoria’s 11 country lines.
The figure is a 1.5 per cent improvement on punctuality compared to January — the worst monthly result on the Geelong line since February 2016 — but 3.8 per cent less than the 12-month average.
Fewer of Geelong’s scheduled services were cancelled in February, which resulted in a 96.1 per cent mark for reliability, up from 95.3 per cent in January.
The figure is shy of both the 12-month average of 97.3 per cent and the 98 per cent benchmark set by PTV, making it the third most unreliable country service in Victoria.
http://www.geelongadvertiser.com.au/new ... 41d4df82d2
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Re: Long-distance punctuality

Postby Roderick Smith » Thu Mar 16, 2017 11:25 am

Poor service slammed . 14 Mar 2017.
PUNCTUALITY on the Warrnambool line improved in February, but the city is still home to the poorest performing train route.
The percentage of trains arriving on time in February rose to 31.7 per cent. A train is considered on time even if it arrives 10 minutes and 59 seconds after it it scheduled to.
This was a significant improvement, with only 12.6 per cent of trains sticking to the schedule in January.
IMPROVEMENT: The number of trains arriving on time on the Warrnambool line improved in February.
Member for South West Coast Roma Britnell was pleased to see some improvement, but said it was not good enough. “If you got 31.7 per cent on an exam – that’s a fail,” Mrs Britnell said.
The improvement comes after V/Line adjusted its timetable to allow extra time for the journey and give passengers more certainty.
Mrs Britnell said the results may indicate punctuality is worse.
“V/Line has built in an extra 20 minutes to the timetable and yet the train is continuing to arrive late 60 per cent of the time,” she said.
“People rely on this service to get to Melbourne for meetings, medical appointments and to catch flights. It’s simply not good enough to add time to the trip and then say allow another 20 minutes because of potential delays.”
V/Line chief executive officer James Pinder said in addition to the improvement in punctuality, 99 per cent of services had been delivered in February. “We’re working hard to improve services for our passengers on the Warrnambool line, so it’s good to see on-time running increased to 31.7 per cent, an improvement of 19.1 percentage points,” Mr Pinder said.
He said the service continued to be affected by temporary speed restrictions in place following last year’s collision at Pirron Yallock.
Mr Pinder assured passengers the $10 million upgrades to 20 level crossings would allow V/Line to restore services to the standard users deserved.
To date four crossings have been updated along the Warrnambool line.
Public Transport Victoria acting executive director for network service delivery Dean Purkis said he was keen to see punctuality improved further. “V/Line are already working to deliver on $10 million worth of work to upgrade level crossings along the Warrnambool line so they can safely provide the punctual service that passengers deserve,” Mr Purkis said.
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Re: Overcrowding

Postby Roderick Smith » Wed Mar 22, 2017 12:20 pm

Anger after V/Line slashes capacity of peak hour services.
Tues.21.3.17 www.thecourier.com.au .
Customers took to Facebook and Twitter to vent their frustration at the crowded service, with some commuters complaining of having to stand for the entire journey.
Customers also vented their frustration at the same problem occurring on the same service on March 2 Public Transport Users Association Ballarat convenor Ben Lever said while overcrowding has been common on the Ballarat line for a long time, the association had received a clear spike in complaints over the past fortnight.
“Passenger numbers have boomed in recent years and the government is very much playing catch-up,” Mr Lever said.
“Whatever the reason the carriages are being taken off the Ballarat line at the moment, it highlights just how close to capacity V/Line's fleet is.”
The reduced capacity comes despite the pledge during the last state budget to add 27 carriages to a longstanding commitment for an additional 21 carriages to the line.
Six carriages were also added to two of the line’s busiest services in November last year.
Regular commuter Barbara Pipcorn said she had returned to driving at points during the past two weeks due to the state of congestion and the unexpected stops.
“There’s been times where we’ve been left with three cars and have been told to move up and everybody's crammed in and there's not a coach replacement,” Ms Pipcorn said. “We pay mega-dollars to use the service from Ballarat and it’s just not acceptable.
A V/Line spokesperson said “there are times when we need to run different train types or carriage arrangements”.
“Reasons for reducing the number of carriages can include trains that require cleaning after graffiti, animal strikes or unexpected faults,” the spokesperson said.
While V/Line will in some instances run coaches where carriages are removed from a service, this is not always the case.
V/Line’s performance figures for January showed an acceptable 96.4 per cent in reliability and a sub-par 85.2 per cent punctuality rate, with February figures expected to be released in the coming days.
www.thecourier.com.au/story/4516214/car ... -rail-pain
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VLine overcrowding

Postby Roderick Smith » Fri Apr 21, 2017 11:30 am

April 20 2017 One new train a month not enough to stem V/Line's runaway crowding woes .
Kathryn Bordonaro has begun to play a game with her fellow commuters on the station platform in the morning.
As the V/Line train to Melbourne pulls in, she jockeys for the perfect spot so she can be first through the door.
Another crowded peak-hour V/Line train heads for Geelong. Photo: Joe Armao .
It's the only way she can be sure to get a seat and avoid having to stand in the aisle all the way to the city.
"You're in this country town and most people nod politely at each other on the platform," says Ms Bordonaro, a finance broker and member of the advisory council to Victoria's small business minister.
"But there's this 30 seconds where everybody turns it into an Olympic event of who is getting in that door first and who is getting their seat."
It's not hard to understand why Ms Bordonaro and her fellow commuters are so anxious to secure a seat.
They live in Warragul in west Gippsland, an hour and a half by train from central Melbourne. It's a long time to stand on a moving train.
Kathryn Bordonaro rides a V/Line train from Warragul. Photo: Joe Armao.
Victoria's regional rail operator V/Line has an overcrowding problem, and the statistics show it is not going away, even as it adds 16 extra three-carriage trains to its fleet.
James Pinder, V/Line's CEO, admitted in state parliament on Thursday that as quickly as its manufacturer Bombardier builds a new VLocity train, new passengers fill it.
"We're adding one train a month, one train every six weeks to our fleet, but that capacity gets absorbed very quickly," Mr Pinder said.
V/Line publishes new figures each month that show which of its peak-hour services are at 100 per cent capacity or more. March's numbers reveal standing room-only has become the new normal for many commuters.
On the Geelong line, V/Line's busiest, 12 of 16 morning peak trains are more than 100 per cent full well before they reach Southern Cross Station.
This includes the first train of the day, the 4.32am from Waurn Ponds, which is standing room only by the time it departs Tarneit station in Melbourne's outer west at 5.19am.
The figure is similar in the evening, when nine of 13 trains that depart Southern Cross Station between 4pm and 6pm are overloaded.
Passengers on the Ballarat line, V/Line's next busiest, fare little better.
Seven of 13 morning peak trains are at 100 per cent capacity, sometimes from as far afield as Bacchus Marsh, and seven of 11 afternoon peak trains are standing room only.
The Gippsland line has four trains that reach Melbourne before 9am, two of which were at 100 per cent capacity last month, and three trains that depart Melbourne for Traralgon between 4pm and 6pm, two of which were standing room only for much of the journey.
The Andrews government allocated three new carriages to two peak-hour Gippsland services this month to address the problem.
Crowding on Bendigo and Seymour line trains is less problematic, V/Line figures show.
At the parliamentary inquiry, Mr Pinder suggested crowded carriages were less a growth phase than a permanent change in character from regional to commuter belt service for V/Line's busiest lines.
"Standing on V/Line trains is not something that Victorians are used to," he said.
"Our railway and our region and our state is changing. More and more people are coming to live in Victoria, our network is carrying more and more people and we are on a transformational journey.
"Do we like the fact that on some of our trains on some stations within that corridor, people have to stand for 20 minutes? No, but ... we are in some ways victims of our own success."
Jeroen Weimar, Public Transport Victoria's chief executive, told the inquiry regional rail patronage was growing faster than any other mode in the state, including trams and metropolitan trains.
"We are seeing a level of ridership on the network that we really have not seen before," Mr Weimar said.
Meanwhile, Ms Bordonaro has taken to heading across the CBD to Southern Cross Station for a Gippsland-bound train in the evening, to ensure she gets a seat and doesn't have to stand all the way to Pakenham. Sometimes all seats are occupied before the train reaches Flinders Street Station.
Having to stand all the way to Gippsland means much more than tired feet, she says. It is a drain on productivity and even quality of life.
"There's this idyllic dream that is sold to a lot of people; move to a regional area and you could commute in an hour and work or read while you travel, but it's really hard to work on your laptop if you're standing."
www.theage.com.au/victoria/one-new-trai ... vomi9.html
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Re: VLine overcrowding

Postby system improver » Fri Apr 21, 2017 12:54 pm

It's somewhat ironic that Ms Bordonaro was interviewed whilst she was seated - says it all about the integrity of the report. Of all the lines, there are very few standees on the Gippsland route. Without doubt, the peak Ballarat and Geelong trains are mostly full before they reach Deer Park. Then again, on the inward journey, the few standees will need to endure 25 minutes not 25 hours. Outbound, there are plenty of seats after Melton or Tarneit. It's a pity that the Baillieu/Napthine government "forgot" to order enough V/Line carriages for the anticipated rapid increase in patronage that would follow the opening of the RRL. They were too busy signing secret side letters and transferring, uninvoiced, $400 million to their mates just before the 2014 election. That $400 million would have bought just the right number of extra V/line carriages, something that the Liberal Party's favourite "reporter", Andrew Lund, is unable to think about.
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