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Rail News: Passenger Rail

WMATA improved service in 2012, agency report shows


The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) "made significant gains" in train and bus reliability, escalator availability and reduced injuries among employees and riders in 2012, the agency's annual "Vital Signs" report shows.

"This report documents our path of progress, and the good news for riders is that last year we improved in 10 of the 12 areas that we track," said WMATA General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Richard Sarles in a prepared statement. "While we have more opportunities to improve, this report also gives our riders and stakeholders a big picture view that reflects the overall customer experience."

The report shows improvements in rail and bus on-time performance for two consecutive years. In 2012, 91 percent of Metrorail's 20,000 weekday train stops occurred on time, a 1 percent improvement over 2011, WMATA officials said.

In addition, the system made "an unprecedented gain" in rail-car reliability, exceeding its target for mechanical performance in the fourth quarter for the first time since Vital Signs was first published in 2010, they said. The 13 percent improvement in reliability over the past year means that, on average, cars traveled 5,500 more miles before experiencing a failure. That improvement results in fewer offloads and delays for riders, agency officials said.

Meanwhile, rider injuries such as slips, trips and falls dropped 10 percent to a rate of less than two rider injuries per million trips in 2012. Employee injuries declined as well, with 5.04 injuries per 200,000 hours worked.

WMATA developed Vital Signs to improve the agency's transparency in rail and bus system performance.