Many European countries put serious resources into their public transport systems and have networks that are the envy of the world, but don’t necessarily assume they are better than us in every single respect.
For instance, one might assume that German trains are never late — or at least that their punctuality is light years ahead of ours.
I discovered the other day that it is not so.
In the year under review, we significantly improved the punctuality of our trains. For punctuality up to five minutes, the average rate increased from 91.0 % in 2010 to 92.9 % in 2011. Both local and long-distance transport services posted higher annual rates in this category: long-distance transport achieved a rate of 80.0 % (previous year: 72.4 %) and the figure for local transport came in at 93.2 % (previous year: 91.5 %).
Deutsche Bahn annual report
The long-distance figure isn’t directly comparable to V/Line, because V/Line uses a 5:59 or 10:59 threshold for “late” depending on the distance involved.
But the local figure (for instance S-Bahn suburban services) is comparable to Metro, as both DB and Metro use five minutes.
So, DB’s punctuality figures were 91.5% in 2010, and 93.2% in 2011.
Metro’s punctuality figure for 2010 was 86.6%; for 2011 it was 87.0%; for 2012 it was 91.1%, so (at least recently, with the help of strategies such as skipping stations, which if done counter-peak has overall positive outcomes for passengers) Metro is in the ballpark with DB.
Bonus trivia: When I was a kid, I recall Lego trains such as 7740 came with various stickers for different operators, including Deutsche Bahn
and Victorian Railways. I always used the Deutsche Bahn stickers, of course — their DB logo was perfect for me.