The History of CoMET
The issues of control and cost were addressed by using the RTSC at Imperial College London. The centre facilitates the benchmarking programme as a venture under the control of the metro participants themselves, rather than offering a pre-determined programme. The group is under the control of a President from one of the participants, a post which revolves on an annual basis from metro to metro. This enabled the participants to direct efforts towards the areas which they felt would produce the greatest benefits or which were for them "hot topics" dictated by immediate issues arising from their own situations. Such issues included exploring reductions in maintenance cost and their relationship with reliability levels, or the impact of fare regulation on metro performance.
The first tasks carried out under the programme were to design and select a system of KPIs. At the same time, case studies identifying best practice in line capacity, investment effectiveness and maintenance were completed. The line capacity study showed that one of the best ways to increase capacity was by the control of the "dwell time"* in stations. It was a bilateral study between London and Hong Kong, but according to the philosophy of the group, the results were shared with the other members. NYCT seized on them immediately and launched a pilot project in New York entitled "Step Aside - Speed Your Ride", which produced an immediate 4.5% improvement in capacity on one of New York's busiest lines, with about 17% considered as achievable. This was done with minimal investment, merely some markings to tell people where to stand and some departure clocks to allow the drivers to standardise their "dwell time".