Better services are just around the corner for Adelaide train passengers despite a misleading scare campaign launched by the Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) recently.
Australasian Railway Association (ARA) Chief Executive Officer Caroline Wilkie said the privatisation of Adelaide’s rail services would deliver better outcomes for passengers under Keolis Downer’s direction, and the union’s safety concerns were unfounded.
“Keolis Downer has an outstanding reputation for delivering public transport services to the highest standards, with a strong focus on creating the best possible experience for their passengers,” Ms Wilkie said.
“The transition process for the privatisation of Adelaide’s train services is on track to be completed by the end of the month as planned, with safety a key consideration at every stage of the process.”
Ms Wilkie said Keolis Downer and the SA Government had a clearly defined plan to ensure the highest standards of safety during the transition process, which remained on schedule for privatisation on 31 January.
She said the transition process for key staff was a critical component of this work and would ensure continuity for the travelling public over the coming months.
While many existing drivers would transfer to Keolis Downer as part of the transition, new drivers would also be recruited.
Existing drivers that had chosen to remain employed by the Department of Infrastructure and Transport would continue to work across the network until new recruits were fully trained and onboarded.
“It is really encouraging to see so many current employees working on the network moving to Keolis Downer as part of the transition,” Ms Wilkie said.
“The fact that Keolis Downer has received more than 1000 external applications for driver roles just highlights the strong demand to be part of the future of Adelaide’s rail network, with an increased focus on customer service.”
Ms Wilkie said the privatisation of the network would ultimately deliver better outcomes for train users in Adelaide.
“Keolis Downer and its parent companies are known for delivering responsive, passenger focused public transport services both here in Australia and around the world,” Ms Wilkie said.
“The privatisation of Adelaide’s train operations will put the focus on a more responsive service, with increased reliability and real time information sharing to make the customer experience a great one.”
Ms Wilkie said it was unfortunate the RTBU had not acknowledged the significant focus on safety through the transition process, or Keolis Downer’s commitment to introduce new initiatives to improve safety across the network.