DB Regio Tyne and Wear (DBTW) has been recognised for its excellence in the operation of Tyne and Wear Metro after winning the prestigious Operator of the Year accolade at the 2011 Light Rail Awards.
Since it won the concession in April 2010, DBTW has put efficiency standards in place that have improved Metro and made it a better service for the 40 million passengers it carries each year. The company has rolled out a number of initiatives which have positively impacted the daily service that Metro provides.
In its short time to date in running the network, DB Regio has clearly impressed, and its management of trains and stations have not gone unnoticed by the rail industry.
Managing Director of Metro Operator DB Regio, Richard McClean, said: “Winning this award is a great honour for everybody at DB Regio Tyne and Wear who work so hard to maintain, manage and improve Metro. Operating Metro is a challenge but through the efforts of each and every one of DBTW’s employees, we are proving that we can ensure Metro provides a great service to the people it serves.”
Since DBTW took over, Metro has noticed some significant changes; the most noticeable to passengers will be the increase in the number of customer facing staff and a number of station improvements. One of the first tasks undertaken by DBTW was its ‘100 day clean up’ project which saw staff take to stations and Metro cars, removing graffiti and cleaning stations in an effort to upgrade and improve the Metro service.
“We have taken the operation of the network in our stride and continued to make improvements to service levels,” continued McClean. “This is highlighted in the ever increasing staff and higher customer satisfaction surveys. Perhaps our biggest challenge to date was when we were faced with the snow storms last winter, which saw many transport operators put a stop to services. DB Regio however managed to keep Metro in operation, with not a single train being cancelled due to a lack of train drivers. Every station was also covered by a member of staff with a broom and shovel to ensure snow on platforms did not affect services.”
The initiatives listed, plus many more, contributed heavily to the award of Operator of the Year and DBTW shows no sign of resting on its laurels as more recently the company has welcomed back its refurbished fleet of Metro cars to the region which have been refitted, repainted and re-upholstered.
Richard McClean added: “It is a great achievement for DB Regio and its staff to be able to bring this award back to the region and be commended for its quality in operating Tyne and Wear Metro.”
One of the Light Rail Awards judging panel said of DB Regio’s win: “This year’s Operator of the Year is one of the newest kids on the block, even though the system that it manages is actually one of the oldest.
“Since taking over 16 months ago, DB Regio has rolled up its sleeves and sorted out many of the issues on Tyne and Wear Metro with extra services, more staff on the ground, cleaner, brighter and more reliable trains, and above all dead-straight honesty. A deserved winner.”
Bernard Garner, Director General of Nexus, which owns and manages the concession contract with operator DB Regio, said: "Metro has set new standards for customer service and performance since the new operating concession was let to DB Regio in April 2010 - as well as maintaining a great service through the worst winter in decades.
"Passenger satisfaction surveys show that the people who use Metro are noticing the difference so it is great to see our concessionaire recognised by being named Operator of the Year against fierce competition from London, Manchester and Birmingham, among others."