Metro in new deal
METRO Trains looks set to be awarded another contract by the Andrews Government to run Melbourne’s rail network, just days after Thursday’s crippling peak-hour shutdown.
Despite an unprecedented computer crash, which shut lines for more than an hour and stranded thousands, a new deal is likely to be struck by the end of the month. Sources told the Sunday
Herald Sun it could mean Metro running the train network for the next decade.
Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan said negotiations with both Metro Trains and Yarra Trams were ongoing. “Through these new contracts we will deliver services that put passengers first and penalise the operator when they do not deliver services Melburnians expect and deserve,” she said.
Metro’s present contract runs until November 29.
Under the existing deal, the rail operator qualified for a “good faith” negotiation for a seven-year contract, with an option for the government to extend it by three years.
Public Transport Users’ Association president Tony Morton said it would be “disappointing” if a contract was struck without taking the opportunity to improve system management.
Mr Morton said the train control room used at present went live in 2014 after a drawnout process that lasted 15 years, spanned five ministers and three private operators.
“It’s actually failed three times already due to false fire alarms — it’s not in an isolated facility like comparable control rooms elsewhere — but this latest failure appears to have a different cause and more troublesome implications,” Mr Morton said.
Rail Tram and Bus Union Victorian branch secretary Luba Grigorovitch said Victoria needed a rail system that put ticketholders before shareholders.