Rolling strikes affecting the main lines until March 16!
From Auckland Transport:
The Rail and Maritime Trade Union (RMTU) has given notice of its intent to commence industrial action from Monday 26 February to Friday 16 March. This action will affect some peak services on the Southern, Western and Eastern Lines. All inter-peak and off-peak services will run as normal.
Auckland Transport and Transdev have developed a temporary timetable to minimise disruption and provide consistent rail services on these lines during this period.
Customers can expect Southern, Western and Eastern line weekday peak train services at 20-minute intervals, with inter-peak and off-peak services running as normal.
Many trains on these services will run with six cars, which can hold 900 passengers, to help reduce impact.
Onehunga and Pukekohe weekday train services and weekend train services across all lines will remain on their usual timetable.
Ferry and bus services will operate as normal.
Auckland Transport’s Chief Transport Services Officer, Mark Lambert says, “With increased demand for services, the trains will be fuller than usual. I encourage people to plan ahead and consider other travel options such as travelling outside of peak hours, carpooling, walking or cycling.”
Mr Lambert says AT staff will be on duty at some busy locations to assist customers with information and advice. Daily service updates will be provided on the station information boards, the AT website, Twitter and Facebook.
AT is proposing to transfer the responsibility for train door opening and closing from Train Managers to Train Drivers with specific safety controls, pending safety case approval from independent rail regulator, NZ Transport Agency, and replacing Train Managers with a larger team of roving Transport Officers.
Currently, Train Managers work alone and, when in a six-car train, cannot provide customer assistance in both 3-car units at the same time. They are not encouraged to intervene in incidents and cannot leave a train service to manage antisocial behaviour off board.
Transport Officers are trained as first responders to incidents across the network. They have warranted powers for fare enforcement and can also be deployed in larger patrols to focus on trains that need additional assistance. Transport Officers are trained to manage anti-social behaviour, security and medical incidents. They have the flexibility to move any antisocial behaviour from the train onto the platform where additional assistance can be provided, without stopping the train service.
Transport Officers form part of a wider series of customer experience improvements including an intensive gating programme that will mean 90 percent of all passengers will have to pass through an electronic gate before going onto the station platform.
AT believes these changes will improve safety and security on the rail network and reduce fare evasion and antisocial behaviour.
More than 30,000 people travel by train around Auckland on an average weekday.
Not exactly when we need partial strike action on the rail network with March Madness AND the Census under-way.
Then again I can understand the RMTU going on industrial action after Auckland Transport and Transdev have ham-fisted the transition to Driver only operations backed up with Transport Officers (for which there will not be enough).
Given Light Rail is bound to be fully automatic how we deal with on board and station platform situations needs to be dealt with sooner rather than later.