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Rail News: Passenger Rail

WMATA ups the performance ante

Many transit agencies would have been pleased to post the performance measures Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority logged in 2000 but WMATA officials last year set goals to improve them nonetheless. And in 2001, the agency surpassed even those goals.

Metrorail workers last year improved the number of times a train needed to be offloaded or removed from service 10.9 percent compared with 2000. The mean distance between failures jumped 22.7 percent from once every 55,193 miles in 2000 to once every 67,460 miles. The number of delays of four minutes or more decreased 2.9 percent; and the system’s reliability index (or on-time performance) increased from 98 percent during 2000 to 98.4 percent.

"Actually, we exceeded our reliability goal of 97.3 percent, which was set when our reliability was at 97 percent, yet was quickly surpassed for a 2000 year-end at 98 percent," said Lem Proctor, Metrorail chief operating officer, in a prepared statement. "Our trains are experiencing fewer mechanical failures, which means fewer offloads, fewer delays and increased on-time service."

Proctor attributes the improvements to work performed in WMATA’s Rail Car Emergency Rail Rehabilitation Program, which began in May 2000 and is scheduled to continue through 2005.

WMATA’s other modes posted similar year-over-year improvements: Metrobus service decreased road calls needed per 1,000 bus trips by 13.9 percent; lost trips per 1,000 trips due to mechanical failures, 18.5 percent; mean distance between bus mechanical failures, 16.1 percent; and number of bus accidents per 100,000 miles traveled, 22.2 percent.

Paratransit service improved its on-time performance from 90 percent in 2000 to 90.7 percent; in 2001’s last quarter, paratransit logged 92 percent on-time performance.

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More News from 2/13/2002