Re: Sydney light rail staff put performance ahead of passenger safety

It was certainly a time of change for the Transdev management, with
ownership changes, new trams, new contracts and almost a doubling of
patronage at the time. After about 16 years of running a pretty quite
sideshow, there was quite a lot for Transdev to adapt to, including sudden
growth. It doesn't surprise me that they had to pay even more attention to
issues such as safety.

Safety would be an issue that would worry me least about Transdev which, as
a French company, was always pretty lacklustre on the science of running a
tramway in the first place. During all those years of trying to get them to
shorten the journey time (raise the commercial speed), the thing that
struck me most about them was that they were in fact overly obsessed with
safety. Firstly, they didn't understand why it was beneficial to have
quicker journey times for their customers. On top of that, they had the
view that the trams should run as slowly as possible in public areas for
the protection of the public.

Then came the day when they ran over a pedestrian at a speed of 11 km/h.

Tony P
On Monday, 22 November 2021 at 11:58:10 UTC+11a...@... wrote:

> That memo is talking about the time that the CAFs were being introduced

> and the ATP system, which I always considered overkill for a tramway, was

> being abolished, and the absurdly low speed limits were being raised to the

> less but still absurdly low limits they have now, and for a while they had

> this cumbersome arrangement where an outbound tram couldn’t pass the signal

> at the Dulwich Grove stop till any car at the terminus had cleared the

> single track.


> Also, before the Variotrams were withdrawn the ATP was causing problems

> with false brake applications at clear signals, so there might have been

> some issue about how drivers dealt with that.


> As for the memo, it’s the standard bureaucratic managerialist guff that

> would be familiar to anyone who has worked in transport. When I was on the

> railways this sort of motherhood statement was on every weekly notice and

> every report about a safety related incident.


> What it is really saying is “we are pushing the ‘person to blame’ as far

> down the chain as responsibility as we can”. The article gave it more

> prominence than it merits.


> Tony


> On 22 Nov 2021, at 10:21 am, TP histor...@...> wrote:


> When you read the actual Transdev memo which is linked in that article, it

> comes across in a completely different light from how the SMH portrays it.

> The memo indicates that Transdev is in fact highly concerned about safety

> and is reminding staff that it's everybody's responsibility to report any

> safety issues.





> But never let the facts stand in the way of a good story.


> Tony P


> On Monday, 22 November 2021 at 09:35:05 UTC+11a...@... wrote:






>> Operator admits staff put light rail performance before safety of

>> passengers

>> James Lemon http://by/james-lemon-h0wmh9November 22, 2021 — 5.00am


>> The private operator of Sydney’s light rail system told staff they had

>> put service performance ahead of safety when introducing the trams that

>> shut the line down this month.


>> The revelation comes as the government tries to work out how cracks

>> formed on all 12 trams servicing the Central to Dulwich Hill line before

>> being noticed, while it is under growing pressure over Treasury’s attempt to

>> shift its train network’s costs onto a corporation


>> despite multiple warnings about safety and budgetary risks.

>> [image: Sydney’s inner west light rail line far exceeded patronage

>> expectations early in its history and was regularly packed during peak

>> times before the pandemic.]

>> Sydney’s inner west light rail line far exceeded patronage expectations

>> early in its history and was regularly packed during peak times before the

>> pandemic. Louise Kennerley


>> An internal Transdev Sydney note


>> said there was a rise in the number and severity of safety incidents in

>> the three months before it brought the now-cracked trams into service in

>> July 2014.


>> “Our investigations into what and why these incidents have occurred show

>> that, on many occasions, we’ve put network demand ahead of the safety of

>> our staff and passengers,” the note, obtained by the *Herald*, said.


>> These concessions were made the same year Transdev Sydney was selected by

>> Transport for NSW to operate and maintain the new CBD and South East light

>> rail. Two years later, it was awarded the contract to supply, operate and

>> maintain stage one of the Parramatta Light Rail due in 2023.

>> [image: Arlington Light Rail Station on the now-closed L1 light rail

>> line, which is being serviced by replacement buses for 18 months.]

>> Arlington Light Rail Station on the now-closed L1 light rail line, which

>> is being serviced by replacement buses for 18 months.Brook Mitchell


>> Transport Minister Rob Stokes said the idea of putting network demand

>> ahead of safety was “unacceptable and outrageous”.


>> “It would have been unacceptable in 2014 and it remains so today,” he

>> said.


>> Tram expert and former government light rail adviser Greg Sutherland said

>> the priority of private operators was to make money for their shareholders,

>> so the government must make sure the services it was paying for remained

>> safe.


>> “You can outsource how you do something, but you can’t outsource the

>> ultimate responsibility,” he said. “That monthly payment is millions of

>> dollars but what checks are being done before the money is handed over?


>> “Transport NSW says safety is the highest priority, but is it actually

>> being treated as such? What are they actually doing to make sure it is

>> managed as the highest priority?”


>> A Transdev Sydney spokesperson said it was misleading and wrong to

>> conflate an employee newsletter with commentary on the overall performance

>> and state of the network.


>> “Safety has always been our number one priority and Transdev Sydney

>> continues to maintain a strong safety record,” they said.


>> “The internal employee newsletter was aimed to highlight the importance

>> of a safety culture within the light rail network.


>> “The examples given related to isolated practices and not directions or

>> decisions taken by the company due to any network or other pressures.”


>> Labor transport spokeswoman Jo Haylen said the document showed the latest

>> shutdown was a symptom of long-term mismanagement of the public asset which

>> had now had to shut down entirely.


>> “This network has been run into the ground,” Ms Haylen said.


>> “The government’s asset management plan

>> http://link/follow-20170101-p59a53 already revealed that the inner

>> west’s trams are inspected just once a year; now we know that passenger

>> safety and the integrity of the network have come second since 2014.”


>> Another staff memo described a “noticeable increase” in trams running

>> through stop signals. The note


>> said such events “can be as serious as a matter of life or death” and

>> were happening almost monthly six months after the opening of the line’s

>> extension to Dulwich Hill in March 2014.


>> Meanwhile, Transdev Sydney encouraged drivers to “look ahead. Is it red?”

>> .


>> A Transport for NSW spokesperson said safety was not negotiable at the

>> government agency and the tender process would have adopted this absolute

>> requirement then assessed other criteria as set out in the assessment

>> matrix.


>> They said there were a number of checks and balances for Transdev’s

>> performance, including monthly contract reports and meetings where safety

>> performance was on the agenda, and mandatory reporting of safety incidents

>> to the Office of the National Rail Safety regulator.




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