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Brisbane transport reliability data 'meaningless' says commuter group

Robert Dow - Rail Back on Track spokesman
Does transport reliability data actually mean anything?

That's the question from Rail Back on Track as it declares a 'state of secrecy' around reliability data for the state's rail and bus networks.

Spokesman for the commuter advocacy group Robert Dow said while other states didn't do a perfect job, he said the limited information Queenslanders were able to access about 'peak-time' data was 'sanitised' and prevented the public from holding the government to account.

"Why is it necessary to resort to Right To Information requests for data that is made readily available in other state?" he said.

"There's something wrong in terms of the way the public is treated if we can't get the data that gives you a proper representation of the operation of the system."

Mr Dow said people needed to know what the out-of-peak performance was.

"We believe that it enables people to pinpoint where the real issues actually are, but secondly, it allows people to challenge the misrepresentations made by politicians and others with respect to the data.

"If we don't know what the data is it's very hard to challenge them,'' he said.

In Victoria data is available online with month-by month breakdowns while NSW CityRail records on-time running to a benchmark of five minutes for suburban services and six minutes for intercity services and daily data breakdowns.

According to RBOT, Perth has the best data availability but Mr Dow said the Translink Tracker has limited information.

Some data is available on the Queensland Rail website but it states that if on-time running performance is affected by incidents beyond it's control such as medical emergencies, security incidents or severe weather, it is not included in the peak on-time performance results.

Data also does not include 'force majeure' incidences.

Mr Dow said he felt it had led to an overall deterioration in performance and reliability data to the point where many people "now no longer believe what's being said''.

"They are the one's that are put on buses at 8pm or 9pm at night because there is another track fault or police incidence or whatever, but that's never ever mentioned in the data or never seems to come through.

"We get a very small snapshot of average peak time performance," he said.

"It's meaningless.''

A spokesperson for Translink said Queensland Rail published peak on-time running on its website daily at Queensland rail.

"These figures are provided at manned train stations, where possible.

"Figures are also available quarterly through the Translink website or when requested.

Translink's Real Time trial is also investigating options for providing on-time running data for customers,'' he said.

That data, for bus networks, would allow for GPS tracking, but the spokesperson conceded he did not know as yet what Translink intended to do with the data, or whether it would be available to the public.

Last week Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson said reliability of the south-east Queensland rail network dropped to 90.01 per cent for peak on-time running in the January to March 2012 period - the lowest result since 2009.

"The collapse in reliability of rail services came at the same time as Labor drove up the cost of public transport affordability," he said.

Mr Emerson said the LNP would be more passenger-focussed.

"When I catch public transport, affordability, reliability and frequency are the issues that passengers raise with me and they are the reasons people are walking away from public transport and hopping back into their cars," he said.

"If we are going to get people back on to public transport then these issues need to be addressed.''

COMMENT: The procrastination and prevarication of the new state government is now starting to emerge.