Adelaide metro public transport complaints rise due to changes to the train system

Complaints about public transport increased in the first three months of the year, as Adelaide commuters returned to trains, streetcars and buses in much lower numbers than before the coronavirus pandemic.

The number of complaints per 100,000 boardings in the Adelaide metro rose to 15.83 in January-March 2021, according to new figures from the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport.

The number per trip is the highest since a peak in January-March 2018.

The gross number of complaints is also the highest since mid-2019.

The number of boardings on the Adelaide metro in the first three months of 2021 was 29% lower than it was at the end of 2019, before the pandemic.

Commuters on the Gawler train line were forced to take replacement buses until November for electrification work after being previously informed that some services would resume in April.

Grace Thon, a resident of Munno Para, said the replacement buses meant a much longer trip to the university.

Her friend Acho Ayii said buses can get crowded during rush hour.

Grace Thon and Acho Ayii are waiting for a replacement bus from the Gawler line.(

ABC News: Eugène Boisvert

)

Privatization behind the complaints?

In figures released after this article was first published, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport said the number of complaints about trains rose 12% from the previous quarter, while complaints about buses were up 65% and trams by 31%.

Along with the closure of the Gawler railway line, a spokesperson for the department said the increase in complaints could also be due to increased traffic on the roads delaying buses.

Construction work on North Terrace also delayed buses, he said.

Keolis Downer took over the management of the Adelaide rail system in January 2021.

Opposition transport spokesman Tom Koutsantonis said he believed privatization was the main reason for the increase in complaints.

Bus in a busy city street
Replace buses for passengers on the Gawler train line.(

ABC News: Eugène Boisvert

)

Government declared number of security guards on trains after 7:00 p.m. has doubled from 30 to 60 since January and the number of services as a whole has increased due to the increased frequency on the extended Flinders line.

Keolis Downer said he didn’t believe his trains were to blame.

“We have been on trains, meeting passengers for the past four months, and we are hearing positive reviews about the cleanliness, performance and safety of the trains,” said a spokesperson.

“We are always open to comments and ideas to improve our services, which is why our management team visits the network every month to engage with passengers and collect their feedback.”

Workers in a nacelle next to high voltage power lines.
Work is being carried out on the power lines as part of the Gawler railway electrification project.(

Department of Infrastructure and Transport

)

Minister says system is cleaner than ever

Transport Minister Corey Wingard admitted the number of commuters had been “affected” by COVID-19, but said the government was “doing everything we can to get people back on public transport.”

“We have invested a lot to make sure that our trains, buses and trams are as clean as possible,” he said.

“A lot of the feedback we’ve had is that people have noticed how clean these stations are and also the trains themselves, so we continue to work with the new contractor who has a proven track record in service all the time. exceptional clientele when it comes to public transport. “

He said the closure of the Gawler Line had “caused problems for people.”

“We made it very clear. We made all of this information available to this community,” he said.

“And we understand that when that is done – this is something they have not given a damn about for a long time – it will also allow people to get back to public transport.”

Are the elderly staying away?

People for Public Transport spokeswoman Josephine Buckhorn said she noticed fewer people on public transport, especially vulnerable users such as the elderly.

She said one of the main complaints from commuters was that services were being canceled or moved without notice.

“People often show up at the stop and find out when they get there – or their train is a bus,” she says.

She said having people wear masks on buses could make them more confident in using them, although this is not a policy officially endorsed by the group.

Keolis Downer was also criticized in March for strictly enforcing the number of bicycles allowed on trains on the Belair line, although he has since relaxed his stance on the rule.

A train runs along a cycle path on an overcast day
Mountain bikers have complained after a restriction was applied on the number of bikes per car on the Belair line.(

ABC Radio Adelaide: Malcolm Sutton

)

The Tonsley line was extended to Flinders in December.

Passenger Priya Vemparala said the service was “really good”.

“It’s really beneficial for the residents here, because they don’t have to wait hours and hours together in road traffic and it’s also very comfortable, to be frank, on the train as well,” he said. she declared.

A separate private company took over the operation of the Adelaide trams in July 2020.

Labor has pledged to roll back privatization if elected next year, though they did not roll back the privatization of buses during their last tenure.

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