Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) has joined the Nova group of metros. BMRCL constructs and operates the Namma Metro (which means ‘Our Metro’) which serves Bangalore, the capital of India’s southern Karnataka state and the third most populous city in the country.
The first part of the system opened in 2011, and Phase 1 was completed in 2017. The system now features 42.3km that is 80% elevated and 20% underground on two lines: Purple (east-west) and Green (north-south). There are 40 stations and an estimated approximately 130m annual passenger journeys. Phase 2 is now under construction, with sections expected to open between now and 2023 that extend both existing lines and add three new lines (with an additional 93km).
Tokyo Metro has joined the CoMET group of metros. Their system is the oldest in Asia, dating to 1927 with the opening of the Ginza Line. Privatised in 2004, Tokyo Metro is owned by the national and metropolitan governments. The Tokyo Metro network is 195.1km with 179 stations on 9 lines and is renowned for its punctuality. Annual passenger journeys are estimated at more than 2.2 billion, making Tokyo Metro among the densest metros in the world.
Tokyo Metro’s first two lines, the 1927 Ginza Line and 1954 Marunouchi Line, operate on standard gauge track with third rail power and are independent. The rest of the network operates on narrow gauge (1067mm) like the mainline railway network in Japan, with overhead power and operate through services connecting to various suburban railways. We look forward to working with Tokyo Metro on benchmarking going forward.
Sydney Metro has joined the Nova group of metros. It is a new fully automated (GoA4) metro system being built in Sydney, Australia’s largest city. The first section, known as Sydney Metro Northwest, opened in May 2019 with a 4-minute peak headway. The initial segment features 23km and 8 stations newly built and the existing 13km, 5-station Epping to Chatswood rail link (which opened in 2009 and was operated by Sydney Trains until closing in September 2018 for metro conversion).
Currently passengers interchange onto Sydney Trains services at Epping and Chatswood to continue to central Sydney, but Sydney Metro City & Southwest is currently under construction and will extend the line a total of 31km, including a new tunnel under Sydney Harbour and the Central Business District and the takeover of another existing Sydney Trains line in the southwest area, scheduled for 2024.
Seoul Metro has joined the Community of Metros as its newest member. With the exciting joining of Seoul Metro, the community now comprises 35 of the world’s metros. Seoul Metro is one of the oldest metros in Asia, having opened in 1974, and is now one of the largest systems in the Community of Metros, with similar demand to Shanghai and Moscow. Seoul Metro is one of the two major operators of Seoul’s metro system, which is jointly operated with Korail and Seoul Metro Line 9 Corporation. Lines 2, 5, 6, 7 and 8, as well as the Seoul Metro-operated portions of Lines 1, 3 and 4 will be included in benchmarking analysis. The current organisation was formed after a merger of Korail, Seoul Metro and Seoul Metropolitan Rapid Transit Corporation came into effect in 2017.
Seoul Metro comprises just over 300km across 277 stations, similar in network length to Guangzhou Metro. The system has undergone steady expansion since 1974, with new lines opening in 1984, 1985, 1991, 1994, 1995, 1996 and 2000. It now provides approximately 2.1 billion passenger journeys per year across the Seoul Metropolitan Area, which includes Incheon and Gyeonggi Province. Seoul is the capital of the Republic of Korea and is a major global city with a population of over 25 million.
Seoul Metro is a notably innovative operator, providing internet connectivity in all trains and stations, a state-of-the-art customer facing mobile application covering journey planning, train status, incident reporting, a “favourites” tool and real-time information. Its future plans include the ongoing development and operation of two new lines opening in 2018: the 23.7km Gimpo Line (connecting with Lines 5 and 9) and the 23.3km Sosa-Wonsi Line (connecting with Lines 1 and 4). Seoul Metro will also open three extension projects: the 5.94km Line 9 extension (Phase 3), a 14.7km extension to Line 4 in 2020, and a 12.9km extension to Line 8 opening in 2022.
The North American Sub-Group of the Community of Metros has officially been formed and its inaugural meeting held in Washington DC. The North American Sub-Group brings together metro operators in North America to collaborate on benchmarking and focus on challenges particularly affecting operators in the region. The group consists of existing Community of Metros members New York City Transit, Société de Transport de Montréal, Toronto Transit Commission and Vancouver SkyTrain, as well as new members of the community, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) and Bay Area Rapid Transit (San Francisco).
During this meeting, members heard benchmarking analysis with a focus on North America, and case studies of particular relevance including Measuring and Improving Customer Satisfaction and Best Practices in Driver Training. Members also participated in structured discussions on key topics of interest for North American metro operators, such as managing reliability, ridership trends and using performance data.
Members used WMATA’s network extensively, learning about station operational procedures and plans for future station works. The group also visited WMATA’s Greenbelt Yard facility to learn about its rolling stock replacement programme, including the logistics of the depot and customer-focused design elements of the trains. Its new 7000-series cars total 45% of its fleet and is reducing fleet-related delays.
Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) in San Francisco, United States, has joined the Nova benchmarking consortium as part of the North American Sub-Group. The North American Sub-Group brings together metro operators in North America to collaborate on benchmarking and focus on challenges particularly affecting operators in the region.
BART is a network of approximately 180km and 46 stations, transporting 124 million passengers annually. It opened in phases between 1972-1974 and now operates across five lines, as well as an automated guideway transit line serving Oakland International Airport. It runs a 24 Trains per Hour (TPH) frequency with a fleet of over 650 cars. Given its unique design and geography in the region, BART also continues to participate in the International Suburban Rail Benchmarking Group (ISBeRG).
BART has some exciting programmes underway, including the delivery of new train cars and managing extension projects. In 2018, BART opened the East Contra Costa County extension and its trains run on renewable diesel fuel. This follows the 8.6km Warm Springs Extension project, which opened in 2017, and serves as the starting extension towards Silicon Valley. BART is currently delivering its “Better BART” project, which aims to improve the system’s safety and reliability. This involves extensive projects such as track replacement, power line and structure repairs, infrastructure and station renewal, and delivering increased capacity through implementing Communications-Based Train Control signalling (CBTC).
Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) in Washington DC, USA, has joined the Community of Metros as part of the North American Sub-Group. The North American Sub-Group brings together metro operators in North America to collaborate on benchmarking and focus on challenges particularly affecting operators in the region.
WMATA provides fully-accessible metro rail service across three jurisdictions in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia, in addition to MetroBus and MetroAccess services in the region. WMATA is a nationally important public transport operator in the United States, providing the third largest metro system in the United States based on ridership (after New York City and Chicago), with approximately 180 million annual trips. It was created through a dedicated Compact in 1965 and the metro network opened in 1976 on a 7.4km, 5 station segment of the Red Line. Its original design consisted of 83 stations and approximately 160km of network length, and was delivered in phases until 2001: operations began in 1977 on the Blue Line, in 1978 on the Orange Line, in 1983 on the Yellow Line, in 2000 on the Green Line and 2014 on the Silver Line. The Blue, Orange and Silver Lines interline on some sections of route. The system is approximately 40% underground, particularly in the high-density District of Columbia, and its current fleet consists of approximately 1150 cars.
WMATA continues to add to the diversity of the Community of Metros, increasing the number of peers in North America and joining other “middle-aged” metros. One of WMATA’s notable practices is its focus on measuring and reporting its performance to customers across areas of service quality, safety, security and financial responsibility. Customers use the SmarTrip farecard to pay for their journeys on WMATA metro and bus services, and data from the SmarTrip system is used to calculate service quality indicators, such as customer on-time performance (known as “MyTripTime”). WMATA then analyses the sources of delay affecting this figure and identifies key actions to improve performance.
WMATA’s future strategic plans for the metro focus on delivering more capacity and reliability. Initiatives such as core station improvements to accommodate all eight-car trains during peak periods, adding passageways, escalators and stairs to improve passenger experience in stations, adding new Blue Line connections to reduce waiting times and adding pocket tracks and crossovers at key points on the network to deliver greater operational flexibility and resilience. The Community of Metros hopes to be a valuable source of knowledge and best practices to WMATA as it continues with these future initiatives, as well as its ongoing extensive Back2Good programme to improve total service provision to customers.
Vancouver SkyTrain has joined the Community of Metros as part of the Nova consortium as of September 2016. SkyTrain is the oldest and one of the longest fully-automated driverless metro systems in the world. Vancouver is the largest city in western Canada and the centre of the Lower Mainland region in the province of British Columbia, which comprises a total of 2.6 million inhabitants.
The SkyTrain network consists of three medium-capacity metro lines totalling 79km with 53 stations. The Expo and Millennium Lines are directly operated by member BCRTC (the British Columbia Rapid Transit Company, a subsidiary of regional transport authority TransLink), while the Canada Line is operated by private-sector contractor ProTrans BC through a PPP arrangement. The total system transports nearly 120m annual boardings as part of a integrated multimodal public transport network that include a large bus network, the West Coast Express commuter rail line, and the SeaBus ferry service.
The system first opened in 1985 for the World Exposition (Expo86) with the Expo Line from downtown Vancouver to New Westminster. The line was expanded in the late 1980s and early 1990s across the Fraser River to Surrey. The Millennium Line was the second line opened in 2002, forming a loop with the Expo Line. The 19km, 16-station Canada Line was built in advance of the 2010 Winter Olympics using a PPP arrangement. It opened in 2009 and links the city centre with the airport and major satellite city (Richmond) along what had been one of the city’s busiest bus corridors.
At the start of December 2016 the 11km Evergreen Extension to the Millennium Line will open in the northeast part of the Vancouver area. In advance of this opening in October 2016 Expo and Millennium Line services will be reconfigured, reducing the overlapping section to downtown Vancouver.
The SkyTrain network is fully accessible, with step-free access to all stations and trains. The Expo and Millennium Lines use Bombardier Advanced Rapid Transit technology, which uses linear induction motors and delivers fast and very frequent service with relatively smaller, lower-capacity trains. The same technology is also used by Nova member Kuala Lumpur RapidKL on the Kelana Jaya Line. The Canada Line uses conventional AC motor technology with larger cars operating two-car trains.
Future plans for the SkyTrain network include adding capacity with additional rolling stock and potential extensions as well as managing ageing infrastructure that is now more than 30 years old. One such extension project is the Millennium Line Broadway Extension, which would add 6km and 6 stations underground and link the Millennium Line to the Canada Line along what is currently one of the busiest bus corridors in North America.
Shenzhen Metro has joined the Community of Metros as part of the Nova consortium. Shenzhen Metro (SZMC) operates Lines 1, 2, 3 and 5 in Shenzhen, which comprises 158km and 107 stations. Line 4 is operated separately by MTR, but is from a customer perspective part of the same metro system. The total system (including Line 4) is already carrying an estimated 600-700m annual passenger journeys.
The system first opened in 2004, and expanded dramatically by over 100km in 2011 (before Shenzhen hosted the 2011 Summer Universiade). The network has been stable since 2011, but there are several new lines under construction, with multiple new lines to open in 2016.
Shenzhen is a city of about 10 million in the south of Guangdong Province, adjacent to Hong Kong and less than 100 miles southeast of Guangzhou. Shenzhen Metro is a key part of what may be the most metro-connected megalopolis in the world – it directly links in two places to Hong Kong’s East Rail Line (the first time two Community of Metros members in different cities interchange!), and there are plans in the not-so-distant future to also connect Shenzhen Metro to the Dongguan Metro, which itself will connect to the Guangzhou Metro at its other end.
Shenzhen Metro is already working on plans to attend the next Nova meeting, which will be hosted by the Docklands Light Railway in London in September 2015.
Representatives of 15 of the world’s largest metros met this week in Mexico City to share good practice and agree on future directions for cooperative research. The meeting included a technical visit of Mexico City Metro’s facilities, including the control centre, the surveillance centre, and examples of rubber-tyred and steel-wheeled lines.
Imperial College London presented updates on latest research, including key performance indicators with a special focus on the host metro. Members were updated on research topics including dwell time management, unattended train operations, and the impacts of major projects on the existing metro.
The CoMET group also welcomed Singapore SMRT as a new member. SMRT has been a member of the Nova group for small and medium-size metros for many years, and with 690 million passenger journeys in 2012, has now grown to a size comparable with CoMET metros. Their move to CoMET will enable them to continue their valuable contributions to metro benchmarking.