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RAIL Back On Track Latest: SEQ: Could we get more train services for the same cost?

Media release 11 June 2012
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> SEQ: Could we get more train services for the same cost?
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> RAIL Back On Track (http://backontrack.org) a web based community support group for rail and public transport and an advocate for public transport passengers calls for the review into Queensland Rail to consider how conversion to Driver Only Operation (DOO) on the suburban and interurban network may be effected and staged.
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> Robert Dow, Spokesman for RAIL Back On Track said:
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> "A major consideration of running extra services is the cost of extra staff labour. While people may like guards, the cold hard financial facts are that with two staff per train, we can only run less services that we otherwise could for the same labour costs. A decision will need to be made about whether we can get more services than we have currently, for the same labour similar costs if there is a phase out guards."
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> "Reducing the number of staff per train reduces costs, which allows more services to be put on."
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> "In south-east Queensland we have some of the worst train frequencies in Australia - long half hour waits at many inner suburban stations so close to the CBD, that it is possible to see the CBD from the train platform. Indeed, many buses are far more frequent than our trains. This is world's worst practice - chronic low frequency and a very restrictive short span of useful service which leads to excessively long journeys and extremely poor connections. We pay some of the highest fares in the world, and also some of the highest government subsidies in the world and Australia at around 75%, so clearly we need to find ways of getting more bang for the buck because with the current situation, a lot of bucks are going in, but not much bang is coming out the other end."
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> A roll-out of driver-only operation would need to consider the following:
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> * Disability access issues, and how this can be overcome
> * How driver-only operations could be staged (for example, selected lines could become driver only operated)
> * What enabling works and systems would be required (platform heights, curves, ATP signalling and so forth)
> * Costs, benefits and time-frames
> * Prioritisation of parts of the network, testing and trialling
> * What expertise is required, national and overseas experience
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> "Driver only operation has been in effect in Perth, Adelaide and Melbourne for quite some time now. Reasons against DOO have all been overcome on those networks, and they have much better overall train service frequencies than south-east Queensland. Perhaps it is time we caught up with the rest of the world? We also believe that the introduction of DOO could be supported by converting guards into drivers, which means that new driver positions could be created for every guard job converted. This means zero staff loss."
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> "We look forward to a written response from Queensland Rail, TransLink, and The Minister for Transport on this issue."

Comment: Driverless, automated trains as in Vancouver, Canada is another option. - PaulGTully@gmail.com