Thursday, December 1, 2016

QR's Summer of Misery Continues

"Brisbane Commuter" by Edvard Munch
If you had read some press articles recently, a non-rail commuter could think that Queensland Rail's (QR) recent catastrophe is in the past tense. Sadly, it is far from over. Whilst the press have been more quiet about it, this is the ongoing situation:
  • Not enough drivers to run the October 2016 Timetables, after the Redcliffe Peninsula Line opened. 
  • Not enough trains since January 2014 resulting in overcrowded 3-car services, and sub-optimal peak services. 
  • One and a half year (and counting) delays to QR's New Generation Rollingstock (NGR) trains entering service.
  • Serious operation issues looming with NGR trains due to guard being located at the back of the 6-car train, 3-cars away from the disabled access location. 
  • Interim Timetable Mk2 is in action until "the New Year" with nearly 400 train services now cut. 
  • Peak and off-peak service gaps of up to 30 to 60 minutes between trains, causing considerably lengthened commutes and passenger frustration. 
  • Different timetables on Fridays, causing mass confusion.
  • Inconsistent service frequencies throughout the day causing further confusion, especially to shift workers. 
  • Multiple mistakes in the timetables and TransLink's journey planner. 
  • Poor track layout at Kippa-Ring delaying arriving trains. 
  • Rosewood Line "secretly" axed on weekends. 
  • 77% service reduction for Nundah and Toombul in the am peak. 
  • Reports of overcrowded services on most lines. 
  • Despite promises from Transport Minister Stirling Hinchliffe that there would be no more cancellations due to lack of drivers, we have multiple daily cancellations due to "operational reasons".
  • Despite promises from the aforementioned Transport Minister that reliability would improve, network reliability appears to be getting worse (in fact 80% of BrizCommuter's pm peak commuters were delayed last week, the figure is usually 0%). 
  • Reports (including from RACQ) that many rail commuters have "given up", and have gone back to driving, resulting in an increase in road congestion. 
  • News that QR have been hiding documents, QR senior managers have received quite substantial bonuses during the crisis, and QR allegedly spending more tax payers money on spin doctors. 
  • No financial compensation provided for affected commuters (unlike in the UK).
So how is the future looking?
  • No information provided to commuters when the October 2016 timetable will be re-instated in it's entirety. 
  • No information provided to commuters when additional drivers and NGR trains will allow for improved peak services (such as the urgently required later running of Cleveland Line pm peak expresses).
  • Grave concerns that lack of trains, drivers, and tracks/infrastructure, may result in sub-optimal and unreliable Commonwealth Games train services. 
  • No information on how QR will manage the NGR guard location issue.
  • No information on how QR will get trains to arrive at Kippa-Ring on time.
  • High likelihood of further service cuts on working days around Xmas and New Year. 
With just 10 weeks until the busiest part of the year for rail patronage (and thus potential overcrowding), the lack of information and transparency about when the situation will improve is disturbing. Policy failure of successive state and federal governments, as well as Brisbane City Council has resulted in Brisbane's public transport system continuing to be a shambles. Can anyone hear commuters scream?


  1. I thought March was the busiest time for patronage because almost no one is on holidays. With unis on exams or Hols by now, it shouldn't be too bad.

    1. Yes, March is the busiest time (with Uni and School in session), though things seem to get quite "busy" (i.e. passengers unable to board 3-car trains at Windsor) once all the Schools are back in late Jan.

  2. You are now to focused current and historic statements. You should remember that the NGR would be rolling out next year, "which was always the expectation" (Hinchliff as cited in an earlier comment).

    Do you really want QR documents to be available? QR documents (which you can still google) estimated 2015 launch of NGR... what use are these documents.

    No, instead you should keep up with your commentary which is, I'm afraid to say, quite lacking. You haven't listed the constant failures, leading to failed services, constant delays (like when only 2 platforms were running at central), a "lost and found" that lost their opening times on their website because it doesn't match their ACTUAL opening hours (also as printed on their door).

    The QR lines are not waterproof, which given it is storm season is not good news. I left work 2 hours early - thank goodness I did because I was told of hour delays on the very train after mine. By waterproof, I mean every time there is a storm massive delays are experienced, therefore not waterproof.

    The "points failures" can apparently be caused by "young kids" putting a 50 cent piece or even a spray ?? somewhere ??? (I didn't get the QR jargon). But that only happens on northern, southern and western lines. Or at least that's what the QR guy was boasting about on the train.

    Again, there is no possibility of a refund ever, and all the KPIs show everything is rosy.

    So what we have is not just a system in disarray, but also a system that has not had basic maintenance and advancements, and more importantly key performance indicators are not reflecting service levels. I'm hoping surveys will!

  3. Also there seems to be a trillion bus serices going to sunnybank/garden city area and hardly anything apart from hourly routes on the west / north / east. Why is this so?
    Even the 5xx ipswich areas seem to be better organised


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