On the first day of Rail and Maritime Transport Union (RMTU) industrial action, Transdev’s Managing Director, Michel Ladrak, reported: "91% of all scheduled services ran on Monday. This was achieved through robust operations management, and a commitment to deliver services that customers can predict and rely upon."
Of services delivered today, Mr Ladrak said: "I am also pleased to report that we added 15% more capacity on services this morning and punctuality is at 94% with 100% reliability. As expected, demand for services in March is high, and I would like to thank customers for helping each other by moving along the carriages to create more space."
Peter Lensink, Transdev’s Chief Operating Officer, said: "The RMTU overtime ban had no impact on services beyond the temporary timetable we introduced. We operate on shift patterns throughout the day and week. When there are unplanned staff absences, seasonal peaks in annual leave and special events, overtime helps keep our services, and Auckland, moving. We stay agile and responsive to the needs of our customers."
Mr. Lensink added: "Overtime is always voluntary. We look after our drivers, each has a minimum rest period of 10 hours between shifts and we ensure all our crew comply with strict operating rules that include fatigue management."
In respect to planned talks with the RMTU on Wednesday, 28 February, Transdev Manager – People & Culture, Jon Baxter said: "Transdev is, and always has been, committed to bargaining in good faith. We work constructively with the RMTU and seek to use interest-based bargaining to facilitate agreed outcomes."
Mr Baxter expressed his concern at the RMTU’s recent claims in the media: "Comments made by RMTU South Island Organiser, John Kerr, are not helpful. Transdev is firmly committed to working in partnership with all stakeholders to deliver the highest safety standards for employees and customers at all times."
Mr. Ladrak added: "Mr. Kerr has shared his opinion, but Transdev works with facts. Transdev holds the Rail Safety License to operate the Auckland Metro passenger rail network, which requires comprehensive risk controls. We are audited for compliance by the license issuer, independent rail regulator, the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA). Clearly, there are many other facets to the safe operation of a Metro rail network - closing train doors is only one part of a very comprehensive series of safety controls."
Mr. Ladrak said: "RMTU South Island Organiser, John Kerr, has suggested the Security and Fare Enforcement (SaFE) project is a cost cutting exercise, that safety will be compromised, and onboard security non-existent. This is not a the case. Safety will never be compromised. We are working with the NZTA on an evidence based Safety Case variation which has strict risk controls, before Driver Door Operation (DDO) is implemented. I will proceed only when the NZTA is assured that DDO risk controls are as safe, or safer than today.
"There will also be more staff on board, 70 more than we have train managers now to be precise. 230 Auckland Transport (AT) Transport Officers will replace the 150 train managers who currently provide customer service and close train doors to keep services moving. Transport Officers are First Responders, trained to engage with customers and effectively respond to anti-social behaviour, security and medical incidents. With warranted powers for fare enforcement, Transport Officers can remove issues from the train as they happen, without stopping the train service. From 7pm, Māori Wardens will be on all services with at least one Transport Officer, and larger patrols of Transport Officers will join trains that require further support."
Mr. Ladrak stated: "We are working with AT and the NZTA to deliver the safest and most enjoyable train journeys for Aucklanders. We will meet with the RMTU tomorrow to end its industrial action, and overtime ban, as swiftly as possible."