Fri 19 May - $10,200,000,000...
First up, what is the time period for spending this $10b? The Age article opens with it being a 25 year plan. In the same Age article Ken Ogden says it's a 20 year plan. On the ABC news they said ten year plan. Anyway, the State Government site says ten years, so we should go with that. So they're going to spend about one billion per year on average - big @#$%^&* deal - in a few years time they'll be making that just in traffic fines!
Anyway, we can then have a look at where that money is actually going (from The Age article)...
1. $1.3 billion for outer metropolitan arterial roads;
2. $800 million for new metropolitan trains;
3. $500 million for a new tram fleet;
4. $750 milllion for rail safety, including a communications upgrade;
5. $350 million for new regional trains;
6. free public transport for pensioners on Sundays
1 - Probably needs doing but won't make a jot of difference to train and tram users.
2 - OK, we may get some benefit, but are these simply replacements of older rolling stock plus one or two new services? Can't see any changes on the Sandy line in the detailed plans.
3 - Not going to help our train capacity problems apart from the barest handful who have the coice and may switch to trams.
4 - Long overdue I'd suspect, but this won't increase carrying capacity either.
5 - Ditto
6 - That's nice, but is such an obvious gimmick it makes me want to throw up.
So there we have it. In ten years time, we can expect double the number of commuters on the Sandy line as we have today, but no extra trains to handle this load. Hope you're all having regular showers cause we're going to be getting a lot of face to armpit action happening in the coming decade. Interestingly our railfan believes that I should be impressed by this!
It's quite foggy this morning so I'm expecting the worst - c'mon you have to admit that sometimes Connex does seem to suffer from the weather a fair bit. Anyway the 07:14 is more or less on time.
This blog seems to have attracted the odd spambot lately - the most recent one took a fair while to clean up. Consequently I've turned on the anti-spam checker, hope that doesn't cause too much inconvenience.
What's that all about? At the station entrance we're told that the 17:38 is leaving from platform 9 and the 17:49 from platform 8. It's 17:45 at the time, so that suggests the 17:38 is fairly late. Get onto the platforms and the 17:38 is still there and packed solid. I let it go on the assumption that the blank monitors on platform 8 are hiding the fact that it's the 17:49 for some obscure reason.
The 17:38 departs and almost immediately the monitors confirm this is the 17:49. I board and we wait. And we wait. Eventually at 18:00 we depart. No information is forthcoming for the whole 11 minutes. Now it's just as crowded as the other one but I'm home 15 minutes later. Thanks a lot Connex.
And now, to add insult to injury I've just sat through the ABC's Stateline story on the Government's plans and that insufferable weasel Batchelor had the hide to say...
"Melbourne has a pretty good public transport system.
People who use it, like it.
And the biggest complaints come from those who sit in university cafes or who drive cars."
Well Pete my old mate, there's a few of us here who'd beg to differ...!