9News: Metro Woes

Peter Overton, Nine News Sydney: It promised to transform Sydney’s transport network. But Nine News can reveal the North West Metro is failing commuters.

The multi-billion dollar project is not even meeting the bare minimum. And tonight we have the secret document the government doesn’t want you to see.

Ross Greenwood: It cost eight point three billion dollars.

Gladys Berejiklian, Premier: Its smooth and fast and tis the way of the future.

Greenwood: And promised trains every four minutes in peak hour – a 98 percent on-time performance.

But Nine News can reveal the North West Metro operator MTR has failed to deliver. Since it opened five months ago, there have been 40 incidents that caused passengers disruptions.

And that’s created friction with the Government.

Andrew Constance, Transport Minister: We were unhappy at that point.

Greenwood: That point was August this year. Via Freedom of Information, Nine News obtained a document…a briefing note ahead of a meeting was one of the world’s most powerful rail operators Rex Auyeung – Chairman of MTR.

Most of the document is redacted – one key line is not.

“Material improvements are required to bring the service and overall customer experience in line with the minimum standard required…by November 2019”

November – in just two days time.

Constance: We have been firm with them and, fingers crossed that they do meet their performance requirements by November.

Greenwood: If they don’t…financial penalties will kick in.

The meeting with Rex Auyeung never went ahead. He stayed in Hong Kong to deal with violent protests, many levelled at MTR’s stations. But the heat is on here too.

What’s clear is the performance of Metro so far has not been to the Minister’s satisfaction…to the point, you suspect, with the new contracts handed out for the city, the South West and the West – this operator might not get a contract.

Constance: My expectation is to not make a mistake twice when it comes to the officials and the operators.

Greenwood: One alternative – a consortium of John Holland and the operator of the famous Paris Metro.

Constance: Ultimately, as we see the advent of a network, competitive tension is a good thing.

Greenwood: So long as the trains run on time

Ross Greenwood, Nine News.

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