Volume Eight 2013 focusing on Transport and Ports

Auditor-General's Report to Parliament

9 December 2013

Transport for NSW should set targets to measure the overall satisfaction of train users

Total complaints received by RailCorp continued to increase in 2012-13, rising by seven per cent to 31,189 up from 29,219 in 2011-12. Compliments decreased by five per cent.

Service remains the major area of complaints, representing 20 per cent of all complaints during 2012-13. Service complaints relate to the comfort and convenience experienced by customers. RailCorp advised the hot temperatures in January 2013 gave rise to an increased number of complaints.

Complaints relating to on-time running of services had the greatest increase of 30 per cent from the prior year. RailCorp advised delays caused by a number of operational and infrastructure incidents between February and May 2013 contributed to an increased number of complaints.

In previous years, ticketing was the second highest source of customer dissatisfaction. This year the installation of 35 new EFTPOS-only machines and modification of another 15 vending machines to include EFTPOS facilities has seen a major improvement, with complaints dropping by 20 per cent.

Complaints about the environment, ticketing, timetable and claims for reimbursement decreased in 2012-13.

Initiatives by RailCorp and Transport for NSW to improve customer service during the year included:

  • launched real-time train and bus apps for mobile devices
  • improved cleanliness on board trains and at major stations with a new, privately managed cleaning subsidiary, Transport Cleaning Services
  • made rail travel more attractive by introducing Quiet Carriages on intercity trains, rolling out mobile phone coverage in CBD rail tunnels, and increasing the number of air conditioned carriages by delivering the Waratah trains.

Sydney Trains also has a project to improve the quality of customer announcements at stations. A ‘Radio School’ has also been introduced for train guards to improve on board announcements. Further initiatives will be implemented in 2013-14 as part of the Fixing the Trains reform program including establishing Sydney Trains and NSW Trains.

NSW Auditor-General, Grant Hehir recommends that Transport for NSW should set targets to measure the overall satisfaction of train users.

The NSW Government’s most recent performance report for its 2012 strategic plan notes that targets have not been set for overall satisfaction of train users. The first Customer Satisfaction Survey established a baseline that 79 per cent of customers were partly satisfied to very satisfied with overall service.

Further information

Barry Underwood, Executive Officer, on 9275 7220 or  0403 073 664; and email barry.underwood@audit.nsw.gov.au.

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