Friday, June 01, 2007

Sack Connex!

Sack Connex was the clear message at last night's public meeting. It is up to us, Melbourne commuters, to convince Steve Bracks to return Melbourne's trains to public hands.

Rob Gell presented first and gave some pretty compelling arguments as to why we should have a decent and reliable public transport system. He came across as a little too rabidly anti-car for my taste, and if he had publicly renounced the use of cars altogether he might've been more convincing. I just couldn't help thinking of Jeremy Clarkson on Top Gear challenging various celebrities about their ownership of a Toyota Prius!

What Rob Gell lacked in sincerity was amply made up for by Fiona Taylor from If that is not the most sincere, intelligent and motivational speech I've ever heard, bar none, I don't know what is. Fiona is one of us, an average Melbourne commuter who has simply had enough and is not going to take it any more! I sit here and whinge with the luxury of a train, tram or bus all within a ten minute walk, while those in outer suburbs have literally nothing for large parts of each and every day - if you can't afford a car, that's it, you simply stay at home. Yet this is 2007 and we have had a Labor government for years. is not prepared to let Connex keep its franchise and has a number of ideas on how to tackle this. Head over to their website and give them some support.

Lastly we had Dr Paul Mees. As always, a very clear presentation of what's wrong with our public transport system and how it can be done much, much better. It was along the lines of his article in The Age a day or two ago. Clearly if other government bodies can operate an efficient, integrated, cost-effective public transport system, so can we. As Paul pointed out, their solutions are there to examine and copy, we don't even have to work it out for ourselves.

So what are we going to do about it? It's more than two years since I started blogging. Initially I wanted people to get off their backsides in joining me to tackle the apathy of Connex staff and management. Over time, as is clear from my evolving blogs, my focus has shifted more towards Batchelor and Bracks, followed by Kosky the cloth-eared nuff-nuff. Kosky is obviously just a waste of space, so the answer must lie with Bracks. Just like Howard, Bracks is a pollie who doesn't like too much negative publicity. We need to find ways to keep this issue under his nose leading up to the November decision on whether to renew Connex' contract. Personally I think is the organisation to do that with.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too, hope Connex goes at the end of next year. One of the things that annoys me the most that Connex's corporate responsibility is primarily to its shareholders, rather than the public. Corporations exist to make a profit for their shareholders.
Often they get a choice, such as whether to run 3 or 6 carriage trains. When there is no directive from government, the end result is that people are left behind on a platform from time to time (even without cancellations) because they cannot all fit onto a 3 carriage train.

At the same time, its obvious that the bigger problem is a lack interest in public transport from both the Federal and State governments. I don't think theres any doubt that the State government could fast track funds into improving infrastucture and boosting services. However, if you compare the current State budget's total expenditure on everything, and compare it with the amount of money required to get our public transport system up to speed, you can see why some of the public transport projects the government have announced have a 30 year lead time.

This is where the Federal Government is not without fault. The Federal Government's Transport Ministry has always been held by a National Party MP. The National Party represent their constitutents, mostly rural electorates. Now there is nothing wrong with that. The problem is that Victoria gets basically no Federal money for suburban rail infrastructure projects, only freight - yet the Commonwealth have a much larger budget than Victoria and have much bigger surpluses.

01 June, 2007 12:53  
Anonymous connex-sux said...

See that other site has a spot Kosky on the train comp and nobody's seen her yet, I wonder why.

01 June, 2007 19:22  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hold onto your monthly and yearly metcards folks! I heard on ABC TV that Connex would be paying compensation for the month of May 2007 for failing to meet the performance compensation trigger point.

01 June, 2007 23:07  
Anonymous Anonymous said...
For those of us lucky enough to be eligible, above is the link for details of the Connex customer "compensation" for the month of May 2007.
They don't seem to want to put it on their homepage (maybe to keep it low profile?) but its available via a link from the menu.

04 June, 2007 10:36  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't want the price hike!
I cant believe it 2004, from $5.80 daily to ticket and now 2007, $6.30 for daily ticket! 50 cents in 3 years price increased 50 cents!

04 June, 2007 10:49  
Anonymous We Dont Have A Choice.. said...

WHY is everyone doesnt seem to care about the price increased from Connex ticket? 20 cents increased means its a big increase! I don't see KFC or McDonald increase their price like that!
god! another 3 years later we will pay 7 dollar per daily ticket, unbelieveable!
Is that cheaper to travel with public transport these days? NO!!!!


only if melbourne has another kind of train than connex.. !!!

04 June, 2007 11:06  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the price increase is another shining example of the metlink/connex and (most of all) the govt taking commuters for granted.

another 3.4% for standing room only... thanks.

Its funny, its cheaper for me to drive (my diesel 4wd - used predominantly for remote camping) than catch the train, seriously it is. But I don't, because that is unneccessary as the train is right next door. But the train is becoming less and less attractive every day...

Where is the incentive to catch the train???

Quick? No
Punctual? not in connex vocab
Reliable? not in connex vocab
Cheap? not for a long time
Clean? sometimes

There are some serious floors in the transport system that will take years to rectify at which the govt are not doing anything about for example:

We need a new signal system / computer system to create a more efficient (and safer) service. The current one is from the 60's or 70's (not sure, but its OLD!)?

No more pathetic band-aid fixes!

04 June, 2007 11:27  
Anonymous Gen said...

Connex increases the fares every year. They only delayed the increase by 3 months this year due to the braking problem with the Siemens trains. They should not be allowed to automatically increase the fares according to the CPI when we commuters are not getting the service we pay for. Cancelled/late trains, overcrowding are the norm. 10 minutes between services is not enough during peak hours - perhaps a new signalling system would enable an increase in services, but I will dream on ....

04 June, 2007 12:34  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Connex Whinger, you're right about keeping the negative publicity and heat on Bracks. I don't think Kosky really cares either way.

If every one of the people at that meeting (what, ~250?) got a few family / friends involved, and wrote some letters to papers, govt, etc, it would send a strong message; that's more or less how Perth got their upgrades.

Keep it up everyone - but don't just comment here, tell the people that make the budgets too!

04 June, 2007 13:26  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How, where can we write a complain/ ideas go brack's government about connex?
Anyway can tell me please? Thank you very much

I am so so so so sick of connex!

04 June, 2007 19:43  
Blogger PTA All the way said...

Here Bracksy give Allanah a call she'll tell ya how to run a train set she's been doing it for years , she'll also show you a thing called system maintenance and track/ballast upgrade!.
Allannah Mctiernan Minister for Planning and Infrastructure 08 9213 6400 or email

What I like about bout Perth Trains best is our computer system can tell you where everything and what it is doing.

05 June, 2007 01:38  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't forget the linkupmelbourne petition. Currently, it's the main voice, along with the Public Transport Users Association and that has an active petition. Forward emails around to your contacts, or put them on your blog, like I have and ta-da! Everyone knows, except Kosky, that Public Transport must be publicised.

07 June, 2007 21:38  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I am intrigued by the debacle happening over in your part of the world with Connex. I write to you from the UK where we had to endure their service for about 6 years. I lived in Kent for two years 1999 - 2001

By the way here is something you need to know, Jonathan Metcalfe was the managing director of the GNER company who lost their prestigious franchise to National Express (remember them). So just for the record, he took over a great company during it's last years due to the resignation of it's previous boss and turned them into a national disgrace offically rated as the worst performing rail operator in the UK before the takeover.

Now one of the bidders for the rail franchise is Keolis. They are in a partnership over here in the UK with Go-Ahead group who are one of our main transport companies. They took over the two ex-Connex franchises, Southcentral trains (now called Southern) and Southeastern trains. Also they co-run Transpennine Express with Greyhound USA firm First-group. They are actually a highly rated operator with an entire fleet of new trains.

Believe me when I tell you that Keolis know how to transform an embarrassment into efficient and well run business. Southern in particular is an award winner especially for FLEET MAINTENANCE and PUNCTUALITY.

Here are the links

MTR run the London Overground franchise over here as well so they are a key link for the London 2012 games.

So there may well be some hope for you as I think it's Connex who are 50% to blame for the trouble that your rail network is in as well as a governement that hasn't got a clue what it's doing.

Hope this helps.

17 May, 2009 08:47  
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23 November, 2009 00:20  

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