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Best Advise for Commuter Rail Risk Policy-Part 2
This is the second in a series of articles that will comprise a mock version of a Risk Management Policy for a Commuter Railroad Company (CRC). This article covers typical risks, and philosophies for managing risks.

Previous articles covered the scope, purpose, Mission/Vision, customer satisfaction attributes and objectives and goals.

Future articles will cover other policy topics for risks and accepted impacts, risks and transfer mechanisms, risks and avoid mechanisms and managing project risks.

Typical Risks and Philosophy For Managing Risks

The operation of the core business while concurrently performing maintenance and capital program improvements on infrastructure assets present risks that must be managed. For guidance, below are several typical risk factors that directly affect the CRC’s performance indicators, along with the impacts, assessment and management strategy.

Operating Environment Deteriorates: Conditions detrimental to movement of trains and loading and unloading of train passengers will inconvenience customers. This may result in lower performance metrics, such as on-time performance and customer satisfaction survey ratings. The detrimental conditions include safety incidents, unusual/severe weather, utility outages, and roadway crossing and bridge incidents. While this risk is small (__% probability), its impact is inversely proportional to on-time performance and customer satisfaction. The management strategy includes implementing/enforcing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for dealing with weather, security, and safety incidents to maintain or restore scheduled train service, including on-call busing service and interagency service providers.

Infrastructure Problems Occur: Conditions preventing scheduled movement of trains, delay/lengthen customer’s travel plan. This may result in lower performance metrics, such as on-time performance and customer satisfaction survey ratings. The conditions include train derailments, ROW/train fires, track out-of-service and speed restrictions on train passing through construction zones. While this risk is small (__% probability), its impact is inversely proportional to on-time performance and customer satisfaction. The management strategy includes implementing/enforcing SOPs for deployment of forces to correct the problem and alternate transport vehicles to restore scheduled train service.

Customer Disputes Occur: Conditions preventing trains from maintaining scheduled arrivals/departures from stations, and reducing comfort of customers on-board. This may result in lower performance metrics, such as on-time performance and customer satisfaction survey ratings. The conditions include customer/train crew dispute on service fares regarding on-board ticket purchase penalty, off-peak/peak step up fee, theft of service and bicycle permits. This risk is medium. The management strategy includes implementing and enforcing SOPs, best practices and employee training for dealing with difficult customers, while minimizing impacts on other customers.

Medical Emergencies Occur: Conditions preventing trains from maintaining scheduled arrivals/departures from stations, and reducing comfort of customers on-board. This may result in lower performance metrics, such as on-time performance and customer satisfaction survey ratings. The conditions involve sick or injured customers that require medical assistance, which may hold the train at a station or other location. This risk is medium. The management strategy includes implementing SOPs, coordinating with outside emergency services and training employees for dealing with specific emergencies.

Assisted Passenger Loading Increases: Conditions requiring train crews to assist passenger enter or exit the train using on-board platforms. This will require added time in the station and may result in lower performance metrics, such as on-time performance and customer satisfaction survey ratings. This condition involves customer in wheelchairs, and customer with strollers. This risk is small. The management strategy is to assure crews are properly trained to assist customers and to operate bridge plates, and to be alert to customers requiring assistance, and to the location of bridge plates..

Train Cleanliness Decreases: Conditions falling below requirements and customer expectations, and directly affecting the customers’ travel experience. This will result in lower customer satisfaction survey ratings. The management strategy includes implementing and enforcing quality standards for car cleaning and optimizing cleaning schedules and toilet servicing schedules. This risk is high. The management strategy is to schedule car cleaning crews and arrange for adequate contact time for removing debris and mopping liquids.

Train HVAC Performance Decreases: Conditions falling below requirements and customer expectations, and directly affecting the customers’ travel experience. This will result in lower customer satisfaction survey ratings. The management strategy includes implementing and enforcing interior car comfort quality standards for HVAC performance. This risk is high. The management strategy is to perform routine temperature checks on-board trains to assess adequacy of HVAC performance, identify equipment requiring service at the nearest terminal, and to arrange for prompt repair prior to depart for next scheduled train service.

Outside Entity Fouls Right of Way: Conditions preventing or restricting train movement. This will cause delays to scheduled train service until the conditions are resolved, and result in lower on-time performance and lower customer satisfaction ratings. The conditions involve on-track equipment, ROW equipment within the train clearance envelope and on-track work that obstructs trains from passing safely. This risk is medium. The management strategy is to enforce restrictions on work on or near the track to off-peak period when train density is lowest.

MTA Priorities or Goals Change: Conditions that are created by the implementing MTA directive to assist other MTA agencies in overcoming or recovering from a service problem within its system. This will cause cancellation of all track outages and foul time work so that transportation corridors can be cleared to accommodate extra customer loads and extra train service. This risk is medium. The management strategy is to establish actions plans for adding extra trains, altering train stops, and for mobilizing customer assistance personnel to aid in distributing information and controlling crowds.

Corporate Policies and Procedures Change: Conditions that complicate and extend process time or that simplify and shorten process time for external and internal business transactions. This will impact routine planning and execution activities and cause a drop/rise in expected service time previously provided to external and internal customers. As a result, customer ratings will be impacted across all service categories. This risk is high. The management strategy is to carefully consider the consequences of policy and procedure change prior to implementation, and establish a plan for maintaining process time equal to or lower than existing process time.

Union Agreements Change or Disputes Occur: Conditions that create changes in established work practices and productivity expectations for work performed by represented employees. This may impact efficiency and effectiveness of labor forces in performing routine work activities. In addition to affecting frontline the quality of service to customers, scheduled dates and planned progress on maintenance and capital project work may change. This risk is low. The management strategy is to maintain effective communications with the union representatives and CRC management, assure collective bargaining agreements are centralized through the MTA, and to provide updates externally to political officials and customers as deemed necessary.

Political Influence Creates Changes: Conditions that create reprioritizing or re-sequencing planned service, projects or asset maintenance. This may impact a broad range of CRC activities that affect internal and external customers regarding implementation of service schedules, planning and execution of capital projects, and maintenance of stations, platforms, walkways and parking areas. As a result, work priorities may change. This risk is high. The management strategy is to maintain effective communications with all local politicians and community leaders, be responsive to their inquires and requests, and to establish a cooperative work relationship that enhances customer perception of service quality.
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Complex and interesting. I'm sure the public transport system has a thick book for managing risks, especially the aviation industry.
Thank very interesting

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