Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Auckland Mayor praises rail meeting as ‘productive’

Auckland Mayor, Wayne Brown says a meeting between Council, Auckland Transport, KiwiRail, Auckland One Rail (train operator), and the Office of the Minister of Transport today was “productive”.

“It went surprisingly well, I have detailed my expectations and we will be hauling them in again in a week’s time to make sure things are being fixed. I thank Aucklanders for their patience and I look forward to things improving, fast,” the Mayor said.

“I am thankful for the Minister’s support and look forward to working together to bring better transport to Aucklanders.”

He said a range of issues were discussed that have been affecting local passenger rail services, including heat restrictions, temporary speed restrictions, delays caused by a transition to a new signalling system at Britomart for the City Rail Link, multiple point failures, staff shortages, and communication to customers.

None of these individual issues are the single cause of disruptions, but they have compounded to cause an unacceptable situation, the Mayor said.

The following actions were noted by Mayor Brown:

  • Over the next week, KiwiRail will be carrying out an aggressive plan to fix the 4.4km sections of rail that were subject to heat restrictions this week. This will reduce the amount of rail subject to such restrictions to less than 1 km of rail and, in doing so, drastically reduce disruption to Auckland commuters.
  • Auckland One Rail will resolve crew shortages by 11 March, 2024.
  • All agencies are to work over the next week to identify ways to mitigate delays caused by the new signalling system at Britomart and report back.
  • All agencies are to consider whether temporary adjustments to train timetables are required to ensure reliable and predictable services so Aucklanders can have confidence in transport timetables.
  • A joint Auckland Rail Operation Centre will be opened on 14 March with all parties involved in running the Auckland rail network located there, to ensure everyone can work better together.
  • All parties have agreed that they will adopt joined-up communication to customers.
  • All agencies noted the importance of completing the Rail Network Rebuild by the go-live date for City Rail Link, so we receive the benefit of its significant investment.
  • Auckland Transport is to develop better customer-centric metrics for the rail system to understand the performance of the network and the impact of delays on customers.
  • All parties committed to putting the customer first and to continuous improvement and making changes as necessary.

The Mayor also noted the recent review into KiwiRail’s Handling of Recent Disruptions to Passenger Services, which found that governance arrangements for metropolitan rail lines are insufficiently integrated across rail participants.

The report found that there was a need for a collaborative, aligned governance group focused on delivering excellent services. 

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