Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority (WAMTA) made significant gains in train reliability, reduced employee and customer injuries, as well as other markers in 2012, according to its annual "Vital Signs" report card, which will be presented to its board of directors Feb. 14.
“This report documents our path of progress and the good news for riders is that last year we improved in ten of the 12 areas that we track,” said General Manager and CEO Richard Sarles. “While we have more opportunities to improve, this report allows us to give our riders and stakeholders a big picture view that reflects the overall customer experience.”
The report reveals that rail on-time performance improved for two consecutive years. Each weekday, the trains traveling over the 106-mile system make more than 20,000 station stops. In 2012, 91 percent of those stops occurred on time, providing reliable service to roughly 212 million customers. The one percent improvement over 2011 accounts for nearly 50,000 additional stops made on time during the year. WMATA measures train arrivals at every station and stop rather than terminals.
Additionally, the rail system made an unprecedented gain in the reliability of its train cars, exceeding the target for mechanical performance in the fourth quarter for the first time since “Vital Signs” was published in June 2010. The 13-percent improvement in reliability over last year means that on average, cars traveled 5,500 more miles before experiencing a failure (28,000 more miles in Q4). The improvements in car maintenance mean fewer offloads and delays for customers. WMATA has been able to put into service an average of 23 more cars each morning in 2012 compared to 2011 for Rush+, reducing crowding.
WMATA also became safer in 2012, as customer injuries dropped 10 percent to a rate of less than two customer injuries per million trips. Most customer injuries are slips, trips and falls.
Employee injuries likewise declined, with 5.04 injuries per 200,000 hours worked. This was the second consecutive year of decreased employee injuries and the 2012 injury rate was five percent better than the target for the year.