Once again, the pitfalls of privatisation have been proven with MTR Corporation Limited’s interim report for 2018 being revealed.
MTR Corporation who holds the majority share in Metro Trains Melbourne (MTM) are a Hong Kong based company contracted to operate transit systems in London, Stockholm, Beijing, Sydney and many more, including Melbourne.
MTM sitting under the umbrella of the multi-billion dollar MTR Corporation received another seven-year contract (MR4) to operate Melbourne’s Metropolitan train system in 2017.
The new contract was rolled over to Metro by the Victorian Government under the guise of stricter KPIs, harsher penalties for network maintenance and stricter standards for cancellations and late services. However, MTR’s most recent company report revealed that since the contract has come into effect, Metro has received $7.3 billion in bonuses, and only been charged a mere $990,000 for not reaching their targets.
In the new $6.2 billion seven-year contract, Metro’s targets for punctuality were raised from 88% to 92% and service delivery increased from 95% to 95.5%, however in the last 13 months since the contract was signed, Metro has continuously failed to adequately meet the tougher performance targets, with over 6,000 trains being cancelled and tens of thousands of services failing to arrive on time.
Metro time and time again take taxpayers for granted by creaming profits from our network and ignoring the needs of passengers and workers alike. Huge profits should be reinvested in the system as it desperately needs every cent available to ensure the network can meet the needs of future generations, not get shipped offshore to line the pockets of overseas shareholders.
MTRs report boasts that in the first half of 2018, the groups’ revenue increased by 13.9% ($4.7 million AUD) with a chunk of this being thanks to MTM Australia and the new franchise agreement.
While Metro claims to reinvest more than 97% of total revenue back into railway operations annually, the proof is in the pudding with the constant delays and cancellations on our network due to signal faults, track faults and many other issues that we know would not occur if the network was being maintained efficiently.
Perhaps it is time Metro looked at its management structures before poking the stick at the workers who work tirelessly to keep the network running.
It is clear that privatisation has failed Victorian taxpayers and commuters alike. It is time that Public Transport is returned to public ownership to ensure that public interest and service reliability is front and centre.