HSL controls the quality of the vehicle fleet with field observations on buses, trams and metro trains nearly year-round. “The aim of the quality control is to improve passenger safety and travel comfort," says the Head of HSL's Operational Research Group Antti Vuorela.
Last autumn, buses were controlled some 3,200 times. The average quality score for buses was 97.4 per cent of the maximum score. The greatest deviations in quality were observed in the condition of walls and handrails, cleanliness of seats as well as in the functioning of the passenger compartment clock. There were only very few deviations in quality with regard to smoking by drivers and problems with doors.
There were significantly fewer deviations in quality on trams and metro trains. Trams were controlled over 250 times and the average quality score was 99.97 per cent. On the Metro, the average score for some 300 controls was 99.83 per cent.
“As we are only developing this new kind of quality control, we do not compare the results with the results from the previous research period. Once the research methods are established, we will be able to get comparable results. We will then be able to monitor the development of the quality also on a longer term,” says Vuorela.
New web tool
HSL and operators have together developed a new web tool called Jola Web. The tool facilitates the processing and reporting of research results as well as communication between HSL, the researchers and operators. The system was introduced on bus services in autumn 2013.
“The new system enables us to report the observations made to the operators quickly to improve their readiness to address the problems,” says Antti Vuorela.
The field workers record their observations using electronic questionnaires and, when necessary, take photos of the deviations in quality. “After a data check, the observations can immediately be viewed by HSL and the operators in Jola Web. The operators can take measures to address the problems observed quickly when need be. The operators can also easily monitor the quality of their own vehicles.”
The quality factors to be evaluated are determined in the transport service contracts drawn between HSL and the operators. HSL pays bonuses to operators for well-managed services and issues sanctions for serious deviations in the quality of the fleet. The quality controls target both serious shortcomings that can cause danger to passengers and minor deviations that mainly affect travel comfort, smoothness of travel and the image of public transport.