On Monday we kicked off Rail Safety Week and it was good to see AT, KiwiRail, TrackSAFE and other transport bodies gathered together in Newmarket to stress the importance of situational awareness around the railway corridor and particularly level crossings. Karamea and Presley Matthes, the parents of Kenan Matthes who tragically lost their son to an accident at Ranui last year, gave a heartfelt reminder of the risks on the rail network. I met the family for the second time and they inspired me and many others to always consider the importance of rail safety.
Our Communications team also lead two campaigns at Britomart and Newmarket with the help of TDAK and Zero Harm Committee volunteers, and more from AT, KiwiRail. By targeting morning peak commuters and particularly students, we managed to spread the message ‘Look Right, Look Left for trains’ to thousands of commuters. We handed out 300 badges, 2,500 flyers and 1,500 mobile card holders. Hopefully the message will stick.
Transdev is deeply rooted in the Auckland community, not only through the services we provide but also through our Spirit partners. As you may know, for every completed employment survey Transdev promised to donate $10. A big thank you for everyone who completed the first pulse survey, because of you we were able to present a cheque to the Starship Foundation totalling $3,070, which will be used to make a difference to children battling with serious illness. I hope you will join me and show your support by completing the confidential employee Pulse survey the next time it comes around.
I am very excited about the new timetable coming into force from Sunday 26 August. It will give Aucklanders a much improved service, mainly during weekends and later at night. Passengers will also see a more predictable calling pattern at Parnell (and hopefully this will reduce the unacceptable level of overruns and fails to call). Swanson will get a new lunch facility and critical turn-arounds will be longer, both contributing to a more robust service. Rumour has it that the rosters are more workable than today, but I guess that is also a very personal matter. Today our performance often ends up above 96%, my aim is to do even better in August. Great performance and customer experience is what passengers appreciate most.
Recently I have picked up rumours regarding the EMU related training for AT Transport Officers (TOs). I can clarify that TOs are not trained on how to isolate or operate doors, nor are they trained on how to reset the emergency egress handle. They are also not provided any keys other than, for the use of cab access. TOs are trained to identify an isolated door via the red light, and shown how to pull the emergency egress handle. TOs are also shown how the door station PA handset works for awareness purposes, but once again they have no key to access it.
TOs use an EMU at the Strand to familiarise themselves with the interior of a train, and to run through different scenarios in dealing with passengers. It is envisaged that in the future, when TOs do more work on buses and ferries, they will receive similar situational training with these modes of transport. TOs have not been, and are not currently being, trained to carry out Train Manager duties.
Finally, I attended the Infrastructure NZ, Building Nations conference this week. They had quite a line up: Prime Minister the Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern, Transport Minister the Hon Phil Twyford and Finance Minister the Hon Grant Robertson. Fergus Gammie from NZTA talked about Light Rail, and AT’s CEO Shane Ellison talked about transport funding. Many speakers emphasised the importance of Public Transport to help Auckland grow sustainably and 83% of the audience supported further investment in Public Transport to reduce congestion. As I said many time before, Rail is an exciting place to be in right now.