Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Why The Current Transport Model Does Not Work

I have mentioned on this blog and on others that the current public transport model does not work. there is too much finger pointing between the various operators, maintainers and asset owners over the current situation on Melbourne's train network.

Today we have another example:

'It's too hard to fix this mess', says Connex

Ashley Gardiner
April 22, 2009 12:00am

RAIL operator Connex has admitted it can't fix the train system's woes.

In a stinging rebuke to the State Government, Connex said that its reputation had been ruined by recent woes, and called on politicians to fix the mess.

In its 2008 business plan, sent to the State Government, Connex said it could not fix the train problems.

"Connex can only partially mitigate the impacts of heavy loads, network congestion and projects through its own endeavours," the document says.

"It is clear that the ultimate resolution of these issues will also require continual strong support from the state in a number of areas."

Opposition transport spokesman Terry Mulder said the Government had failed to properly plan to make the transport system cope.

"Connex are trying to say that, 'our number one priority was to increase patronage, and we did that'," Mr Mulder said. "The role of the Government was to support the operator with sufficient rolling stock and rail infrastructure, and the Government hasn't done it."

The Connex name will disappear from trains, with a new brand with a Melbourne focus to be adopted after this year.

In its business plan, Connex said overcrowding had risen because the number of users had risen 40 per cent in three years.

Connex's parent company, Veolia, is competing against two international rivals for the right to run Melbourne's train system until 2024. But the bidding process has been rocked by the leaking of more documents despite strict secrecy requirements.

Sources said the confidential documents had been leaked to the State Opposition, which had already obtained the 2008 business plan.

Connex spokesman John Rees said the company had already made major improvements, with 660 new and extended services a week since 2004.

"But only long-term and major infrastructure investment will provide the capacity required to meet record patronage growth," Mr Rees said.

Public Transport Minister Lynne Kosky attacked the Opposition when questioned about the content of the documents.

"Again the Opposition ignore that this Government has $1 billion worth of public transport projects already under way," spokesman Stephen Moynihan said.

A couple of points of interest in the article:
  • Connex said it's reputation had been ruined and asked Politicians to fix it.
  • The Connex brand name will dissappear.
The other issue I have with the whole sorry state of affairs is still the buck passing and finger pointing. Now the train drivers have a pay rise there are less cancellations.

Personally I feel an Alliance model where all parties invest in the system and share the returns will result in more co-operation and a consistent approach to managing and operating the system.


Jayne said...

The state govt needs to take the whole sorry mess back over, entirely.
Employ station staff, have the trains running 24/7, write off that damn Myki nonsense and stick to what is currently working.
Restructure the system and extend the network - possibly (dare I say it!) re-build/re-open old stations and resume passenger services in rural areas.

Jayne said...

Have a look at this map HERE to see how many stations and railway lines have been lost in Victoria.

dam buster said...

The whole Myki thing is a shocker. think of what infrastructure they could have bought for the $1b spent on it so far?

There are a couple of great web sites outlining the history of the Melbourne Train network.

The govt and operators do not have to necessarily extend the netowrk everywhere, just make the services more reiable and frequent in the existing network would be a start.

Jayne said...

With carbon emissions it makes more sense to extend the rail network, which can later be run on solar/alternative power, rather than increase diesel/petrol buses.
With increased rail network there is more infrastructure, investment and long-term commitments in rural communities from large businesses and financial institutions through the flow-on ripple effect.
Which encourages people back into the country areas, increasing the need for more fair division of funds across the state instead of concentrated in the main urban cities.

dam buster said...

Jayne - well i understand that the ballarat line will be electrified to Melton at least in the near future with plans to service areas such as Caroline Springs.

My issue is that they always build the rail after the houses so that everyone already is used to buying cards.

dam buster said...

jeesh.. that should say cars, not cards!