Breakdowns and malfunctions in Milan’s underground in 2013 were down by 30 per cent over the 2012 figure, and by as much as 40 per cent over 2011, “the worst year”.
Announcing the statistics this week, ATM chairman Bruno Rota explained that a new signals system on line M1, a partial renewal of the fleet, and an improved organisation of staffing at strategic points in the network – stations where two lines connect and terminus stations – accounted for the improvement.
Operator ATM collects and analyses data on the cause of any delays lasting longer than five minutes on lines M1, M2 and M3. “With 1,900 runs and more than 1.2 million passengers every day,” Rota said, “as long as we have to operate with the old fleet we will be the target of complaints.” But the imminent arrival of new rolling stock means we can expect a further improvement in service, he added.
The new signalling system, once it was run in, led to an improvement in punctuality and a drop in the number of breakdowns. Another factor has been more attention paid to preventive maintenance: €2 million spent on replacing stressed parts before they actually break, thus preventing breakdowns in advance. And Rota also praised the dedication of ATM staff, often working out of sight of the travelling public, and the helpfulness of the labour unions in reaching new agreements on more efficient places and times of work.
Finally, Rota concluded, “we are beginning to see the fruits of the investments we have made.” These include in the past six months nearly €33 million for new rolling stock: €16 million for four upgraded trains (helped by a further €21 million contributed by the transport ministry) and €16.6 million for partial financing of new trains for the M2 line.