What’s wrong with Melbourne’s public transport (part 1A)

I hadn’t planned on writing the second installment of this series just yet, but I’ve just spotted this:

MORE than $10 billion will be spent on infrastructure – including $2 billion rebuilding the state’s public transport by electrifying the city’s rail network, extending tram lines and buying new buses – in one of the biggest shake-ups contained in any State Budget.

The 10-year, $2 billion transport program outlined in Treasurer Kevin Foley’s seventh Budget will deliver 50 new electric trains, 58 converted electric trains, 15 hybrid tram/trains which can use both lines and 80 additional buses.

Where? Not Melbourne. Rather, it’s Adelaide, the capital of a state which – only a couple of years ago – was considered an economic basket case. Of course, there’s no doubt that the work needs to be done; Adelaide easily has the worst metropolitan rail system in the country. During the 2004 linux.conf.au conference, I took a short trip about four stations north along the Gawler line at about 7pm, and then was stuck there for almost an hour waiting for a return train. Frequencies that bad, even at night, simply aren’t going to get people out of their cars.

Kudos to the South Australian government, showing Victoria’s do-nothing-but-build-roads-and-sports-stadiums government just how infrastructure spending should be handled.

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