Sydney Trains Improving Customer Service and Safety

Over the last decade, Sydney Trains has led the way in the adoption of new technologies in a drive to set world-class standards in operating efficiency, customer service and safety. The Sydney Trains network – comprising urban and suburban rail services that operate over 175 stations, eight lines and 800-plus kilometers of track –  handles more than a million customer journeys every day during peak times.

In 2020 it became the first rail operator to introduce SafeZone from CriticalArc, providing its staff with enhanced protection and enabling faster emergency response to incidents across the network.

SafeZone solution

When Sydney Trains switched-over to the Opal card ticketing system, it was one of the most far-reaching changes in the network’s history – reducing costs, increasing passenger flow, and allowing station staff to be reassigned to duties on platforms and station concourses, instead of working primarily inside ticket offices. This greater staff visibility and improved interaction with customers was welcomed, but it also entailed greater risk to staff, especially for those working in remote locations and outside prime transit times.

To offset this, an advanced solution was needed to improve monitoring the safety of staff wherever they were on the Sydney Trains network. A pilot project was carried out with CriticalArc, to demonstrate how SafeZone could address the challenge by combining a wide range of features – including communications, location sharing and emergency-call – in a single solution. The SafeZone pilot demonstrated all these functions could be provided without unnecessary complexity or cost.

A mulit-stakeholder and evaluation panel weighed various market solutions and identified SafeZone as the best technology, given its ability to hit the ‘sweet spot’ for performance, functionality, user-friendliness, reliability and best overall value.

Benefits and outcomes

Following a rapid implementation including staff training and internal communications, SafeZone now enables rapid-response protection for employees and passengers across the Sydney Trains network. It has been used to ensure successful outcomes to incidents ranging from medical emergencies, missing children and scrub fires. In all cases, the use of SafeZone immediately alerted responders to the incident location and the identity of the person asking for help, and enabled instant communication and support. When time is short, efficient exchange of accurate data is vital.

SafeZone has helped to transform safety across our rail network, for both our employees and our customers. Working in what is a highly risk-averse public transportation environment, CriticalArc has proved to be an outstanding technology partner.
Mark Edmonds, Manager of Security Capability, Sydney Trains

Solution benefits include:

  • Best-available protection for staff working in isolated and quiet locations
  • Precise location sharing for all checked-in SafeZone users
  • Major cost-savings compared with disparate systems, yet improved functionality
  • Rapid implementation and ease of scalability with no extra cost
  • Full support and endorsement from staff and representative unions
  • 24/7 monitoring ensures rapid response to emergency incidents
  • Advanced situational awareness, command and control during incidents

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