The Victorian Government has set out a number of improvements to be included in new contracts for the operation of Melbourne’s train and tram networks, which aim to put passengers first.

The government has formally issued a Request for Proposal to Metro Trains Melbourne and Yarra Trams, which sets out the standards the government expects operators to meet in relation to network performance, passenger experience, maintenance, renewal, and accessibility.

These standards are designed to make operators more open and accountable to passengers, and create a safer, more accessible and user-friendly transport system.

Operators will be required to prepare comprehensive Infrastructure Management Plans for the life of the contract, and demonstrate how they will maintain and improve Melbourne’s trains, trams and rail infrastructure.

In addition, they will need to provide detailed monthly reports on the condition of the assets they operate, and the government will have the right to conduct ‘spot audits’ to ensure the infrastructure is up to scratch.

Under the new contract there will be higher targets for reliability, punctuality and other performance indicators, with services measured at all scheduled stations on train routes and up to 20 stops along tram routes.

Victorian Minister for Public Transport, Jacinta Allan, said the government was creating a stronger contract for train and tram operation systems that put passengers first.

“We know passengers just want a public transport system that works – trains and trams that are clean, accessible, arrive on time and stop where they should.

“This will lift bar on the things that matter to passengers – creating a safe, reliable, accessible network that you can rely on to get you to work on time and home safer and sooner at the end of the day.”

Currently, trains and trams are measured at just a few points on their journey, meaning operators can skip stations or stops in between to make up time and avoid penalties.

The train contract also puts strong emphasis on ensuring the operator works better with V/Line, particularly in circumstances where services overlap or an incident occurs that involves metropolitan and regional passengers.

There will be strict requirements around the timeliness and accuracy of information, and the condition of rolling stock, stations and stops.

The new contract will also require operators to prepare and maintain a detailed Accessibility Implementation Plan that detail how they will make our train and tram systems easier for all passengers to access and use.

Patronage is growing strongly and the government is delivering the biggest program of public transport projects in Victoria’s history, including Metro Tunnel, 50 level crossing removals and more than 100 new trams and trains.

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