Systemic issues are one way in which we work with members to address systemic problems and bring about improvements in the Victorian public transport system.

A systemic issue is a bigger issue or problem that we think may affect more people. We find out about systemic issues through the complaints we receive, from talking with people when we go out into the community, from advocacy or community organisations, and sometimes from members themselves.

How we look at systemic issues

We work with members to identify the circumstances of the systemic issue, the causes and who might be affected. Systemic issues are opportunities for members to improve the customer experience of public transport.

We work with the member to find a lasting solution that not only addresses what has occurred, but also prevents the problem happening in future. We continue to monitor issues after they are resolved, to make sure the issue has been finalised.

We report on systemic issues in our annual report and bulletins, as well as on the Public Transport Ombudsman website.

Systemic issue stories

Here are some systemic issues that we have investigated:

We conducted a Systemic Investigation with Public Transport Victoria  (PTV) about ongoing delays with iUse passes being issued after observing an influx of complaints in 2017 and 2018. An iUse pass is a discounted myki available for International undergraduate students.

After referring the matter to PTV a number of actions were implemented to improve the iUse pass delivery process. The key changes were PTV’s introduction of automated notifications alerting PTV if orders are not acknowledged within a 48 hour period and the creation of a formalised inbox support process to allow enquiries to be responded to promptly. 

The systemic investigation has seen a positive outcome with a significant reduction in iUse pass complaints being received in 2019.

We referred a Systemic Improvement Opportunity to PTV regarding inadequate information on PTV’s website about free travel eligibility on the Cranbourne/Pakenham line in December 2018. PTV published advice on its website about the free travel entitlements but didn’t include advice to customers who held an active myki pass during the replacement period.

After referring the matter to PTV it quickly made the required updates on its website to include information for all impacted parties including the consumers who held a myki pass.

We referred a Systemic enquiry to V/Line after an increased amount of complaints were received regarding the cancellation rate of the 15:37pm service from Southern Cross Station (SCS) to Melton.

V/Line acknowledged the service delivery issues with this particular service and implemented the following changes to address and improve the issue:

  • V/Line made changes to prevent the 15:37 train getting cancelled more than two days in a row, and
  • V/Line Integrated Operations Centre identified other services that may be cancelled instead of the 15:37 should there be a driver or fleet resourcing issue.

The changes implemented were effective with service delivery of the 15:37pm service increasing by 20%.

We conducted a Systemic Investigation with Metro about the information it provides passengers through information displays and announcements at Southern Cross Station (SCS). Consumers raised concerns that when boarding a train at SCS the train service may change destination without any warning. This had the potential to leave passengers on board a service heading to a different destination than they had intended. This practice is referred to as transposing services.

In response, Metro explained some of the reasoning for this practice and discussed mitigation options such as the current implementation of updated communication and decision-making protocols.

The Public Transport Ombudsman made the decision to finalise the investigation, but advised Metro that she is of the view that the issue had not been satisfactorily resolved, as issues with transposals and announcements still occur. The PTO continues to monitor complaints we receive about the issue and may decide to report on the matter in future.