Public Transport Victoria monitors the performance of contracted train, tram and bus operators throughout Victoria to ensure that the standard of service provision meets community needs and expectations.
Reporting on operators' performance
Public Transport Victoria publishes the daily network performance for metropolitan trains, trams and regional trains in the Daily Operational Reports Performance section.
Public Transport Victoria publishes the quarterly Track Record bulletin to report on the performance results for metropolitan train and tram, metropolitan bus operators and the regional train operator V/Line.
Line by line performance information for train and tram operators is also published in a monthly Track Record bulletin.
Which operators are monitored?
All public transport operators who are contracted by Public Transport Victoria to provide regular services to the community have their performance monitored. These include:
- the metropolitan train operator (Metro Trains Melbourne)
- the metropolitan tram operator (Yarra Trams)
- the country train operator (V/Line)
- metropolitan and regional route bus services.
Services are monitored against performance thresholds, particularly in relation to service punctuality and reliability. Customer satisfaction surveys are also conducted.
Train and tram franchise contracts with Public Transport Victoria also include performance requirements for the removal of graffiti, the cleanliness of facilities and vehicles, the provision of information to passengers about services (and service disruptions) and maps, complaints-handling processes, and providing lighting and security.
In order to assess the performance of public transport operators, Public Transport Victoria's transport contracts include thresholds for operators' performance standards.
The thresholds generally relate to:
- Punctuality - measured as a percentage of on time arrivals at specified monitoring points.
- Reliability - measured as a proportion of the timetable that is actually delivered by the operators' services.
Customer service standards are set out in each operators' Customer Service Charter. These include conditions under which passengers may be compensated if service levels fall below the standards in the charters. The service standards in the charters that are used to calculate compensation may differ from the performance thresholds outlined in the franchise contracts, however are not less than the performance thresholds outlined in the franchise contracts.
The contract performance thresholds for various modes of transport are:
In each financial quarter Metro Trains is required to:
- deliver at least 98 per cent of the timetable
- ensure that at least 87 per cent of services arrive at their destination no later than four minutes and 59 seconds after the timetabled arrival time.
Note: for Metro Trains, a slightly different threshold arrangement applies under the contract as compared to the Metro Customer service standards. Under the latter, Metro will provide eligible passengers with compensation where punctuality falls below 88 per cent in any given month.
In each financial quarter V/Line rail services is required to:
- deliver at least 96 per cent of scheduled train kilometres
- ensure that at least 92 per cent of services arrive at their destination no later than five minutes and 59 seconds after the timetabled arrival time for short distance services and 10 minutes and 59 seconds after the timetabled arrival time for long distance services.
The delivery of tram services in Melbourne can be significantly affected by road traffic. Therefore, punctuality of trams is measured as an average of the performance at three of five monitoring points along the route. For any given monitoring point a service is considered on-time where it arrives no earlier than 59 seconds before and no later than four minutes and 59 seconds after the timetabled arrival time. In each financial quarter the performance standards for Yarra Trams are that:
- the average punctuality of services must be at least 77 per cent
- the per cent of timetable delivered must be at least 98 per cent.
Metropolitan and regional buses
Operators of regular passenger services in Melbourne and regional areas are required to ensure that:
- no timetabled bus services operate early at any point on their routes
- no more than five per cent of all services provided on any day or 10 per cent of services provided on any route of any day will operate more than five minutes late at any point on the timetable
- 99 per cent of all scheduled services on any day operate and are completed.
How operators' performance is monitored
Service monitoring arrangements vary according to the mode of transport. These arrangements are:
Metropolitan and regional train operators report train arrival times and cancellations using a mix of telemetry, GPS and manually recorded data and forward these details to the Public Transport Victoria.. This process is supported by independent sample surveys undertaken by Public Transport Victoria to ensure the information supplied is accurate.
An automatic monitoring system is in place for metropolitan tram services. Monitoring points are located along every tram route and, whenever a tram passes these points, electronic information is sent to a central database. The information is then forwarded by the transport company to Public Transport Victoria for analysis to determine whether the service was running on time or had been delayed, cancelled or subject to other service failures.
Bus operators in Melbourne are required to keep records of the punctuality and reliability of at least five per cent of their timetabled services. These records are then forwarded to Public Transport Victoria each month.
Public Transport Victoria monitors regular passenger services in metropolitan and regional areas through an ongoing program of random audits of services to ensure that they comply with performance targets and service standards.
Customer service standards and monitoring
In addition to monitoring operators' punctuality and reliability, Public Transport Victoria commissions monthly customer satisfaction surveys. The results of these surveys are published in Track Record.
Both users and non-users of public transport are surveyed to measure whether operators are providing the quality of service the community expects. A sample of people is randomly selected from the telephone directory in areas where train, tram, bus and regional coach services operate and interviews are conducted over the telephone.
Interviewees are asked to indicate their usual public transport usage and to rate a number of aspects relating to public transport services according to whether they are satisfied or dissatisfied with the service. Responses are further categorised by whether the respondent is totally, very or somewhat satisfied or dissatisfied with the service.
The survey includes questions about:
- service delivery
- train stations or tram or bus stops
- passenger comfort
- information services (including timetables)
- personal safety
- value for money
- staff service.
From April 2009 onwards, customers provided ratings using a 0 to 10 scale where 0 represented 'extremely dissatisfied' and 10 represented 'extremely satisfied'. Note that overall satisfaction questions continued to be asked using the old scale to facilitate comparisons over time.
Survey results are compiled into quarterly Customer Satisfaction Indexes using the scale of six possible responses, allowing comparisons between the different modes, operators and aspects of service delivery. Differences between metropolitan and V/Line services should be taken into account when making such comparisons. These differences include factors such as the purpose and distance of travel, and the types of services offered.
Public Transport Victoria also conducts surveys to monitor the condition of facilities and vehicles on the train and tram networks in respect to graffiti, cleanliness and passenger information provision, to reinforce the performance requirements of these aspects in the train and tram franchise contracts.
Operational Performance Regime
As part of their contracts, train and tram operators have the opportunity to obtain incentive payments for reducing disruption below agreed target levels and can incur penalty payments where disruption exceeds these targets. The system by which these payments are calculated is known as the Operational Performance Regime (OPR).
The results of performance monitoring are recorded by Public Transport Victoria. All disruptions to services are given a 'weighting' based on the number of passengers using a particular train or tram service. The 'weighting' depends on the time of day, day of the week and direction of travel. For example, the 'weighting' given to delays to a crowded peak hour service is different to that of a less-occupied service during an off-peak period. Passenger 'weightings' are revised every three years.
The end result is a technical measure of operational performance. The information is compiled for each month and compared against the targets included in the contracts. If the operator improved the service by more than the target level, it receives an incentive payment. If the operator fails to meet the target, it is liable for a financial penalty.