HSL develops public transport quality control

HSL has reformed and expanded its control of the safety and
quality of public transport vehicle fleet. A new web tool will be
introduced later this year to make the reporting and communications
related to quality issues more effective. 

HSL controls the quality of the vehicle fleet with field
observations nearly year-round. There are two research periods,
January-May and September-November. The field observations are
conducted on buses, trams and the Metro. 

“The aim of quality control is to improve passenger safety and
travel comfort," says the head of HSL's Operational Research Group
Antti Vuorela. “Last year, we reorganized our quality control
process and the implementation of the field work was assigned to an
external research institute.” In autumn 2012, the number of buses
checked was substantially higher than in the previous years
reaching over 3,000. 

In future, about 6,600 buses will be checked each year. There
are some 1,300 buses operating on HSL's bus routes, which means
that each bus will be checked several times. On tram and Metro
services, the goal is to check each car six times a year. In total
8,000 controls will be made annually.

A data system under development

HSL and the bus operators are together developing a new web tool
called JOLA Web. The tool will facilitate the processing and
reporting of study results as well as communication between HSL,
the research institute and operators. The system will be introduced
in autumn 2013. 

“The new system will enable us to report the observations made
to the operators quickly to improve their readiness to address the
problems,” says Antti Vuorela. 

JOLA Web will also provide a tool for preparing summaries and
comparisons of results by research period. 

High-quality public transport service

The quality factors to be evaluated are determined in the
transport service contracts drawn between HSL and the operators.
HSL pays bonuses to the operators for well-managed services and
issues sanctions for serious deviations in the quality of the
fleet. 

The quality control targets, for example, serious shortcomings
that can cause danger to passengers, drivers or other road users.
These are immediately reported to the operators. 

Also minor deviations that mainly affect travel comfort and the
smoothness of travel as well as the image of public transport are
observed. These include, for example, the appropriateness of route
number displays, tidiness and condition of vehicles and the
functioning of the stop button. Also, drivers’ smoking inside the
vehicles or close to open doors at termini is monitored.

The scores for the different quality factors are expressed as
percentages of the overall score. In autumn 2012, the average
quality score was 97 percent, with the maximum being 100. There
were only very few deviations in quality, for example, with regard
to annoying smoking by drivers, route number displays and the
functioning of the bus stop brake. The greatest deviations in
quality were observed in the condition of ceilings, walls and
handrails as well as in the functioning of the passenger
compartment clock.

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