As regular readers or train users will know, the service offered recently hasn’t exactly been great with many cancellations and delays. When it comes to cancellations the Western Line has been hit the hardest and in March 6% of all services on the line failed to reach their destination (reliability) – that’s 181 services all up. Note, this is a different measure from whether they arrived on time (punctuality) and of the services that did reach their destination only 73% were within the 5 minute requirement. The other lines weren’t too much better with them combined averaging just 95.5% punctuality and 81.4% reliability.
Radio NZ has picked up on the issues with the Western Line and managed to obtain a list of all 181 reasons that trains were cancelled for.
Radio New Zealand has obtained from Auckland Transport, a “raw” list of reasons for March’s cancellations on the most troubled line, to the west. There’s a wide variety of human and technical reasons in this selection from the 181 :
- Driver got sick at work
- Late running train due to passenger loadings (previous train cancelled)
- Driver late for train
- Service terminated at Avondale due to door fault
- Roster planning – shift not covered
- Heavy tagging of service while waiting at signal
- Trespasser in Britomart tunnel delayed departure
- Delayed due to loading wheelchair-bound passenger – cancelled to recover timetable
- Roster planning – no driver
- Trespasser riding on outside of train
- Faulty driver seat
- Unfilled shift – compassionate leave
- Rolling stock short supply, unable to cover service
- Train fault – headlight not working
The agency’s general manager, Mark Lambert, said Auckland Transport knew it had to do better.
“The performance in the last few weeks and months has been unacceptable,” he said. “We don’t want to be there, and we’re looking at everything we can in terms of immediate improvements, but also how we can bring forward initiatives to improve things.”
Mr Lambert said rail services had been hit by the phasing out of the old, unreliable diesel trains. As the maintenance contract at KiwiRail wound down, staff had begun leaving, and the standard of maintenance had fallen.
The progressive introduction of the new Spanish-built electric trains had also been affected by minor bedding-in problems, all of which were being sorted, he said.
This is only a snapshot of the full 181 cancellations but the thing that really stands out to me are the number of mentioned which are due not to technical issues but roster ones such as no driver being available to drive the train. That could be from drivers being delayed on one service missing their next one but it’s not the only reason with the number of drivers available to run services also being impacted by the roll out of the electric trains. It’s this reason why AT have also stated they want to get all services converted to electric operations by the end of July.
There’s also this report on the issue from Radio NZ which includes some vox pops from train users. One thing that surprised me was how positive most seemed to be with comments like issues happen in any transport system, that they are looking forward to the electrics and how good it is that so many people are using PT. I’m not sure what the reason for this is but perhaps most users are much more forgiving in these issues than we and most readers have expressed recently.
Or listen here