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Metro Tasmania – Driver Safety

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Wednesday, 1 December 2021

Tags: Metro Tasmania, Public Transport, Roads, Community Safety

Ms O'CONNOR - Minister, the annual report notes that there has been an increase in complaints related to driver interactions with other road users. This correlates with an increase in at-fault vehicle accidents. How do you explain this and is Metro doing anything to address this issue?

Mr FERGUSON - Thank you for your question. I will ask the Chief Executive to respond with the detail. The business receives complaints in a variety of ways. The business is made it easier than ever before for people to put forward their feedback, including if it's negative. I will invite Katie Cooper to respond further. There is a question before you around whether there is a link with other data.

Ms COOPER - In 2021, 81 per cent of the complaints we received were finalised within 10 working days. That included investigation, completion and follow up with their complainant. The three highest categories of complaint we received were: 39 per cent related to service reliability; 30 per cent related to driving; and 20 per cent related to customer service. We received 14.1 complaints per 100 000 kilometres in 2021. You are right; this was just over 6 per cent higher than previous years. It is difficult to draw any real comparison to 2019-20 just because of COVID-19 and the different passenger numbers.

We undertake in our customer survey research to get that feedback from customers directly as well. That wasn't done last year because of COVID-19. We have done it again this year and we have not yet got the results but I should by the end of the year.

Ms O'CONNOR - Thanks for that answer. Have you engaged with the drivers in an effort to try to understand why there has been this increase in complaints about drivers and incidents?

Ms COOPER - Metro has done a couple of new things. As I already highlighted, it relates to service reliability and also driving. One of the things Metro has invested in and trialled this year is a technology called Mobili . Think of it as a radar around the bus that identifies any moveable hazards, et cetera. It gives the driver an alert so they can see whether they are following too close, following too far, to try to affect driver behaviour. It is also really good from a safety lens. It highlights to the driver if someone goes into their blind spot and that might prevent any accidents.

We have found that it has modified how drivers are behaving because they get an alert if they go too close or if they hard brake. Driving a bus is much more complex than people realise, as I can attest. We have seen a modification in how drivers are behaving through that, so we are just investing in putting that across our fleet.

We won't get the whole fleet done this financial year but we will get a fair proportion of it done. I think it is circa 100 vehicles. We are thinking and expecting that driver adaption through alarms and the alerts - they can get a read back and we can tell them this is how the drives gone. It is not a grading system per se but they can see how they performed over the period to help their driver education.