Metro in new deal

Sunday Herald Sun - - News - AN­DREW JEF­FER­SON an­drew.jef­fer­son@news.com.au

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.

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