Punctuality the new hope for train service

The NSW government has devised a new way to make sure the train service is running reliably - it's called punctuality.

Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian said the new punctuality measure, due next month, would replace the previous "on-time running" as the key performance indicator for the reliability of the network.

"Under Labor's on-time running measure, a train that arrives at Central Station on time but has skipped timetabled stops along the way, leaving customers waiting on platforms, is recorded as meeting performance targets," Ms Berejiklian said.

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"Punctuality is more transparent and recognises that if a customer is not picked up by their train because it skips their stop, it is a negative experience and should be measured accordingly."

Ms Berejiklian said that under Labor more than 400 trains a year skipped stops but were counted as being on time.

The punctuality measure will be in place during peak periods, which will be extended by an hour later in the morning and afternoon, from 6am to 9am and 3pm to 7pm.

Ms Berejiklian claimed these times would cover 70 per cent of all journeys, rather than the less than 50 per cent under the old system.

When asked whether the new timetable would feature fewer trains making fewer stops to ensure they fitted the punctuality measure, Ms Berejiklian said that would not be the case.

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"The new timetable is being developed to get more out of the network for customers - that means simpler stopping patterns, reduced journey times and more consistent services, particularly in the peak, for many customers," she said.

"We hope the new measure will drive an improvement in train services."

Other moves would see operators no longer able to "rename" trains to improve reliability figures.

An instance of "renaming" is where a train breaks down and is replaced by a new train further down the line and still be deemed to be on time.

The measure will not be adjusted to take into account events beyond the control of the driver, such as a severe weather event.

If the train does not meet punctuality targets it will be considered late.

Ms Berejiklian said that the new measure had been included in the contracts for Sydney Trains and NSW Trains.

"If targets are not met, Transport for NSW will investigate and work with the operators to take remedial action," she said.

"Results will be made publicly available, ensuring the operators are held to account."

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