Murray Criddle

Murray Criddle


    State Government reveals plans to boost safety on city trains

    27/01/2001 11:00 AM

    Transport Minister Murray Criddle said today that Perth could become one of the first cities in the world to install digital surveillance cameras on suburban trains to relay ‘real time’ video pictures to a central monitoring unit.

    Mr Criddle said the innovative surveillance initiative would underpin a huge boost in the number of rail security officers from 115 a fortnight ago to 175 by March this year.

    “We now have two special constables on every train after seven o’clock in the evening and ‘live’ surveillance will provide powerful back-up for officers dealing with unruly or threatening behaviour,” he said.

    “The travelling public will embrace ‘live’ surveillance on the trains as well as the stations across the network because it will allow instant response should trouble arise.”

    Launching the Coalition’s public transport safety policy today, Mr Criddle said that the Coalition would explore innovative ideas and build on a 12-point rail security initiative unveiled in October.

    “We currently monitor ‘live’ video at Perth Central Railway Station and we will call for tenders soon to establish digital coverage across all the stations,” he said.

    The Minister said the Coalition would continue talks with experts and organisations with transmission technology to link live surveillance pictures from trains moving about the urban network.

    He said that a bold 12-point security plan was under way with:
    • security staff bolstered from 115 officers in early January to 175 in March; and -
    • customer service assistants increased from 25 to 48.

    We are putting more staff onto the trains and stations and now every train after seven o’clock in the evening carries two security officers. Outside that time an officer will be on every train for part of the journey,” Mr Criddle said.

    “While train travel remains a safe option, incidents can occur, and we want to reassure the community that their interests are being looked after when they catch the train, especially at night."

    The big security initiative, called Safelink, follows the Government announcement in September that $300 million from the proceeds of the sale of AlintaGas would be used to underpin the $1.147 billion urban rail link to Rockingham and Mandurah and the northern extension to Clarkson.

    An additional amount of $10 million from the AlintaGas proceeds was earmarked for rail security improvements.

    Safelink sees an extra $4.1 million spent each year on hiring more security staff, as well as expenditure of $18.7 million over the next four years on capital works at the stations to improve passenger safety.

    These works include ‘live’ surveillance technology at stations and associated carparks, a passenger safety hotline, improved lighting at stations, and converting 18 car parks across the network to secured park ‘n’ ride facilities.

    “We will install ticket barriers at 13 rail-bus interchanges to help control people entering the station and prevent anyone without a ticket boarding the train,” Mr Criddle said.

    “The 10 new stations planned for the Mandurah-Rockingham rail extension in 2005 and the new Greenwood Station which will come into operation when the line is extended to Clarkson in 2003 will be state-of-the-art, secure facilities using a ‘smart card’ ticketing system.

    “A single ‘smart card’ will cover travel on all public transport options; trains, buses and ferries."

    Mr Criddle said the key components of Safelink were:
    • barriers to be installed at 13 rail-bus interchanges;
    • 30 extra security staff on trains;
    • 40 extra staff at stations and car parks;
    • digital closed-circuit TV at all 57 stations (only 22 currently);
    • live link to central TV monitoring station;
    • public address systems for passenger information at all stations;
    • passenger Safety Watch dedicated hotline;
    • lighting to be upgraded to Australian Standards at all stations; and -
    • new, more visible customer service uniforms for staff on stations and trains.

    Media contact: Doug Cunningham (08) 9321 7333