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Auckland Transport improving rail safety

Auckland Transport improving rail safety

In an effort to improve the overall experience for rail customers, Auckland Transport (AT) is employing Transport Officers and installing new electronic ticketing gates at more stations across the city.

Ōtāhuhu Station was one of the first to get the gates and will be followed by Henderson, Manurewa, Papatoetoe, Middlemore, Parnell, Papakura and Glen Innes stations. Gates are already in at Britomart, Newmarket, New Lynn and Manukau.

Group Manager AT Metro Operations Brendon Main says AT recently announced a package of customer service and safety improvements under its Safety and Fare Enforcement (SaFE) project. This includes more electronic gates and the testing of a new role on the rail network. The Transport Officer role has been created in response to legislation due to be passed by Parliament next month.

“The new electronic ticketing gates and the initial employment of 18 Transport Officers will improve safety while discouraging fare evasion. It is a serious issue for AT with a number of customers not paying for their tickets or not tagging on with their AT HOP cards. The new gates will encourage everyone to pay, while making it more equitable for those who already do. It is also designed to reduce vandalism at stations.”

He says new legislation is expected to provide Transport Officers with warranted powers to enforce fare payment by everyone travelling on Auckland’s trains, they will be able to issue infringement notices to fare evaders as well as provide assistance to customers.

Mr Main says 18 Transport Officers are currently being recruited and will work initially on the Western Line to test the new legislation and scope of the role. He says the use of Transport Officers will be extended across the rail network and at least 120 could eventually be employed subject to the outcome of ongoing consultations. “We think having staff on the trains with legal powers will help make the trip safer and more comfortable for all our passengers. We think they will deter anyone who thinks they can travel without a ticket.”

He says Transport Officers, along with other staff, will act as a point of contact for incidents on the rail network and at stations They will help with emergency management through a close working relationship with the Police and Transport Operators.

SaFE is a joint commitment between AT and passenger rail operator, Transdev Auckland, to deliver initiatives that will improve customer experience, increase security and safety, and reduce vandalism and fare evasion by the end of 2019.

Mr Main says as part of SaFE, Transdev Auckland is consulting with the Rail and Maritime Transport Union (RMTU) and staff over the implementation of a new operating model which could in time see staffing roles and responsibilities change. Any timing around this depends on the outcome of the consultation.

Key points
• AT is recruiting 18 Transport Officers and could eventually be employing at least 120 following consultation
• It is expected that Parliament will pass legislation in July that will enable Transport Officers to issue infringement notices for non-payment of fares.
• Electronic gates are being installed at more stations.
• The Security and Fare Enforcement (SaFE) programme will be complete by the end of 2019.
• Transdev Auckland operates the Auckland passenger rail network on behalf of Auckland Transport.
• Auckland rail patronage continues to grow in unprecedented numbers. AT has a target of 19.5 million train journeys for the financial year ending 30 June 2017. As at 31 May there have been 19.25 million journeys. For the 12-months to end-March, rail boardings have grown by more than 19%.
• Some Transdev roles may be affected by SaFE, and a consultation process has begun with the Rail and Maritime Trade Union (RMTU)

Watch AT’s project manager, Melissa Melrose talk more about the gating project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A4-Q7rwwbY4

For more on Auckland Transport: www.at.govt.nz

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