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Happy 1st Birthday Torrens Connect

A tram travelling past the Glengowrie tram depot
A tram

Adelaide’s tram service is celebrating the first anniversary of its operation by Torrens Connect on 5 July 2021.

Torrens Connect has had a very successful first year of operation.

Operation of the service transitioned from the Department for Infrastructure and Transport at 03:01 am on Sunday 5 July 2020, and the first tram left the depot at 6:07 am that morning without any conspicuous change to services as far as customers were concerned.

Since then, Torrens Connect has worked hard – assisted by its owning partners Transit Systems, UGL and John Holland – to improve its operations and provide better services to customers.

Over the past year, Torrens Connect has exceeded a number of contractual KPIs, improved safety measures with substantially fewer incidents, and received fewer customer complaints than the previous year.

“Customer experience and safety are ingrained in our culture,” says Torrens Connect General Manager Magda Robertson. “It’s all about getting our customers to where they need to be and when they need to be there. And we transport some of the most vulnerable people in our community. They rely on our service being safe and on time. And at the end of the day, we want all of our employees to get home safely to their families too.”

Torrens Connect has also achieved certification for ISO 9001 (Quality Management System), ISO 14001 (Environmental Management System), and ISO 45001 (Occupational Health and Safety Management System), and passed a compliance audit by the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator (ONRSR) with zero nonconformances.

Besides continuing to run the tram service, Torrens Connect also took over as the Rail Infrastructure Manager (RIM) in January 2021. This includes maintaining the corridor (tracks), overhead wiring, and platforms.

Another office was opened at the Morphettville bus depot to house the new RIM Engineering and Technician Team. And the new Team have proved their worth, responding to a number of critical issues. As a result, signalling systems are more reliable with a reduced number of failures.

“The fact that people can just step onto a tram and get to where they need to go is down to our Rolling Stock Maintenance and RIM Teams who ensure that everything works,” says Maintenance Manager Brett Miles. “Every day infrastructure gets checked and tested, trams get serviced, and we respond to issues so that services to customers aren’t disrupted. We’ve seen improvements of 360% to the average distance trams travel before an unforeseen failure needs the Maintenance Team’s attention.”

Even tram control was relocated from shared facilities with train services at Dry Creek to the Glengowrie depot.

Over 90% of existing tram service employees transitioned to Torrens Connect and further recruitment drives have attracted hundreds of applicants. Torrens Connect is an employer of choice for Adelaidians

“Customers love the tram service and many people want to work for us,” says HR Manager Michelle Glaister. “There has been lots of interest in all advertised positions, not just for tram drivers. We’ve also introduced psychometric testing for recruitment to ensure we continue to hire the best people for the job.”

Recruitment of Customer Service Officers who undertake ticket checks has seen a reduction in fare evasion on the line.

“It’s been an incredible year,” says Ms Robertson, “and everyone here at Torrens Connect should feel incredibly proud of their efforts. We are continually improving the ways in which we do things. We’re building great relationships with our stakeholders and customers. And we’re happy to continue providing excellent service to the people of Adelaide on behalf of Adelaide Metro.”

A tram operator sitting in the driver's cab
Tram Operator David King drove the first tram to leave the Glengowrie depot following the transition on Sunday 5 July 2020

Torrens Connect’s key achievements since 5 July 2020

  • Smooth initial transition from DPTI (now DIT) to Torrens Connect, transitioning over 90% of existing employees and without any disruption of services to customers
  • Development of Torrens Connect’s statement of purpose, values (TRACS), and 5 Year Strategy (focussing on network connectivity and safety)
  • Implementation of key safety, wellbeing, rehabilitation and fatigue management systems/programs and methods
  • Simplification of the Torrens Connect Risk Register
  • Establishment of RIW Cards for Rail Safety Work and provision of online training for Operational Rail Inductions (ORI)
  • Implementation of in-house training in a number of areas including Tram Operator, Prescribed Officer, Customer Experience, SCADA, and Zero Harm Safety training.
  • Successful recruitment drives with very high numbers of applications along with the introduction of psychometric testing
  • Relocation of Tram Control from Dry Creek to Glengowrie Depot
  • Transition of Rail Infrastructure Management (RIM) along with all DIT inventory (1400 items) and signalling SCADA, and recruitment of the RIM Team
  • Opening of a second Torrens Connect office at Morphettville bus depot (for RIM Team)
  • Successful introduction of the Permit to Work process and contractor management
  • Highly efficient responses to a number of critical network issues
  • Stabilisation of signalling systems with reduced number of failures
  • Preventative maintenance resulting in 360% improvement to the average distance travelled between tram failures
  • Working with South Australian Public Transport Authority (SAPTA) and the Traffic Management Centre (TMC) to optimise traffic light sequences along tram routes
  • Assisting with DIT projects at Festival Plaza and Mike Turtur Bikeway
  • Undertaking projects to upgrade tram air-conditioning systems along with planning for upgrades to tram CCTV and tram platforms
  • Re-establishment of regular ticket checking on tram routes by Customer Service Officers
  • Engaging stakeholders and customers through an online presence (website, newsletters, LinkedIn, YouTube)
  • Taking over managing the Rail Care Volunteers program along tram routes
  • Implementing a workplace experience program for students from schools and TAFE
  • Zero Category A (Direct) incidents
  • 35% reduction in LRTAE events compared with pervious year
  • 40% reduction in Slip Trip Fall events compared with previous year
  • 20% reduction in customer complaints compared with the previous year
  • Successful ONRSR compliance audit with zero nonconformances
  • Achieving certification for ISO 9001 (Quality Management System), ISO 14001 (Environmental Management System), and ISO 45001 (Occupational Health and Safety Management System)
  • Met or exceeded all contractual KPIs.