Record tram performance in 2014

Wednesday 11 February 2015

Yarra Trams set a new record in 2014 for punctuality and continued to meet its service delivery targets, overcoming the challenges of extreme weather conditions, third party incidents and traffic congestion around major special events.

28 day moving average for tram punctuality: 2010-2015

Tram punctuality

2014 was a year of exceptional performance results for Yarra Trams with punctuality at its best level since Keolis Downer began operating the network in 2009. The graph above shows punctuality in 2014 significantly above previous years.

Overall punctuality for 2014 was 83.84 per cent, beating the previous punctuality record of 82.04 per cent in 2013, with service delivery at 98.97 per cent.

Yarra Trams' focus on eliminating dips in performance at certain times of the year has delivered performance benefits through improved planning and processes in infrastructure, rolling stock and operations.

Months traditionally known for a dip in performance, such as March and December, saw record performance results. And in both June and July, more than 86 per cent of trams were on time, the best monthly performance result in over 10 years.

Operational challenges in 2014 included the unprecedented January heatwave, major special events such as the Formula 1 Grand Prix, AFL matches and the Spring Racing Carnival, and unplanned disruptions including traffic incidents or protest marches.

These events affect the availability of trams, create greater than usual demand for tram services or cause significant delays - a side effect of 80 per cent of the tram network being shared with motor vehicles.

The graph below (from the most recent data recorded in 2012) shows the effect of increased traffic volumes on tram punctuality.

Effect of traffic volume on tram punctuality

Traffic volume

Real-time response

An increased focus on managing disruptions contributed to the lift in performance. Our Operations Centre is now better equipped to direct and control coordinated incident responses, therefore minimising the disruption to passengers and providing a safer and better performing tram network.

Another important change in Yarra Trams' operations is the introduction of team managers for drivers, which means that drivers now receive timely and direct feedback on all aspects of their performance.

June 2014 marked a milestone in the way Yarra Trams manages its vehicles. Our maintenance activities are now decentralised, giving ownership of the fleet to each depot's maintenance crew.

The results also show that the new timetable introduced at the end of July 2014 has improved punctuality and service delivery. Adjustments made to journey times as part of the seasonal timetable effectively reflected significant changes in traffic conditions in the last quarter of the year.

Future improvements

The overall strategy aiming to provide faster and more reliable journey times is encapsulated in the Premium Line 96 Project. A partnership between Yarra Trams, Public Transport Victoria and VicRoads will transform Route 96, between East Brunswick and St Kilda, into Melbourne's first premium line.

The first of the new level access stops on this route, Stop 124 Batman Park, is now used by the next generation trams on Route 96, as well as trams on Routes 12 and 109.

The terminus to terminus solution will make Route 96 a faster, safer and more reliable service for tram passengers.

On a broader level, providing a fully accessible light rail network with world class customer information, effective separation from road traffic and traffic light priority where practicable will make a significant contribution to Melbourne's sustainability as a liveable city.

VicRoads' annual Traffic Signal Route Review for 2014-2015 includes several roads where trams operate and will lead to a range of network improvements such as: phasings, increasing cycle lengths, lagging and leading optimisation and highlight opportunities for long term improvements.