New group to operate Melbournes metro rail network

By: Graham Gardiner

Premier John Brumby today announced Metro Trains Melbourne (MTM) as the preferred tenderer to operate Melbourne’s metropolitan rail network. He says

Premier John Brumby today announced Metro Trains Melbourne (MTM) as the preferred tenderer to operate Melbourne’s metropolitan rail network.

He says MTM’s bid represented the best value for Victorian taxpayers and focused on improving services for passengers and creating a more reliable and safer network.

"Most importantly, Metro Trains Melbourne made it clear that its priority is to focus on what we believe are non-negotiables for Melbourne commuters: punctuality, safety, reliability, customer service and cleanliness," Brumby says.

"At a network level, we believe we have selected the operator that provides the best value for money and will best work with our Government to transform Melbourne’s rail network into a metro system."

MTM – a joint venture between Hong Kong’s MTR Corporation, Australian companies John Holland Melbourne Rail Franchise and United Group Rail Services – will operate the network for eight years with a contract option to extend its term for a further seven.

A key element of the new contract is a new customer service regime which will offer incentives for MTM to improve customer service announcements, cleanliness, graffiti removal and increased personal safety on the rail network.

"MTM will provide more jobs on the network with a focus on customer service and apprentices, building up the skill base we need as we transform Melbourne’s rail network," Brumby says.

MTM will begin operating Melbourne’s train network as the Government delivers key network investments, including the Regional Rail Link, 38 new trains; the South Morang rail extension, electrification of the Sydenham line to Sunbury and the new Melbourne Metro rail tunnel.

"MTM will partner our Government in delivering a generational transformation of the suburban train network through our $38 billion Victorian Transport Plan," the Premier says.

Brumby says MTM would begin operating Melbourne’s metropolitan train network from December and the company had a proven track record of operating metropolitan train networks, achieving 99 percent reliability for the Hong Kong rail network.

The new train contract will also include a 50 percent increase in funding for rail maintenance to keep the system operating at its peak performance and also generating jobs.

Victoria's Public Transport Minister Lynne Kosky says MTM’s bid outlined its success in operating Hong Kong’s mass transit system and the London Overground.

"MTM will prove to be a successful partner for the Brumby Labor Government in improving rail services and can draw on its international expertise and knowledge base," she says.

"They will bring innovation and new ideas as Melbourne’s rail network grows and expands through the investments the Brumby Labor Government is making through the $38 billion Victorian Transport Plan.

"MTM will help the Brumby Labor Government fulfil our goal of running more services, for more people, more often.

"I would like to acknowledge the hard work and commitment of Connex and its parent company Veolia Environment over the past 10 years which has seen a massive growth in patronage."

Final discussions will take place leading to the signing of the new operating contract in August.

The Government is confident Connex will meet its current obligations in the existing contract before MTM takes control of the network in December this year.

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