Our Plan to Bust Congestion – Fix the Trains

THE PROBLEM

Annastacia Palaszczuk’s rail fail has resulted in 470 fewer services for commuters each week. Labor’s ongoing rail fail is one of the worst public transport failures in our national history.

Closed shop driver recruiting and other secret cosy arrangements with the Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) shows that Labor puts the interests of union bosses ahead of the public transport needs of SEQ commuters. Train driver productivity has also declined and drivers spend less than 30% of their shift actually driving a train with passengers.3 This is despite some train drivers getting paid close to $200,000 a year and train guards on almost $170,000 a year.

The Strachan Inquiry recommended ‘progressing recruitment and training of an additional 200 drivers and 200 guards’. Over a year later, it was revealed on ABC radio that only 16 additional drivers had been recruited, meaning that Labor’s rail fail could continue for another decade. At the same time, safety incidents on the Citytrain passenger network have increased with 2017 being one of the worst years in the last decade for signals passed at danger (SPADs) by drivers. Overcrowded trains speeding through signals puts commuter safety at risk.

OUR SOLUTION

The Government’s own Strachan Inquiry laid out the path to fixing the rail fail and yet Labor’s closed shop arrangements with the RTBU are preventing them from sorting it out quickly. The LNP would restore reliability to our rail network by:

1. Recruiting more drivers

2. Getting them trained faster

3. Getting train services back on track

We will stand up to the rail unions and allow Queensland Rail to recruit external driver applicants. Labor’s promise to allow for external applicants is hollow and gives the unions the right to demand internal recruitment.

We will fast-track the sectorisation of train crew, allowing trainee drivers and guards to get to work on particular corridors sooner. This means train crew will be trained on particular lines and routes – ‘sectors’ – instead of having to be trained across the whole network. We will take on the rail union to improve productivity. The current processes take up to 13 months to train a driver. Transparency and accountability are critical to restoring passenger confidence in our rail network.

The LNP will ensure there is timely and clear communication to passengers about network disruptions, so they don’t get stranded at the station. The language used by Queensland Rail needs to be plain and simple – rather than rail jargon or bureaucrat-speak – and faster so that passengers can make alternative plans if there are issues on the network.

Passengers shouldn’t have to wait until the next election for Labor’s rail fail to end, but sadly after 18 months commuters have no confidence that the Palaszczuk Government can fix the trains. Fixing Labor’s rail fail will lead to restoring public confidence in our major passenger rail network. It will be a priority under the LNP.

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