----- Forwarded Message -----
To: Tdu Transportdownunder transportdownunder@...>
Sent: Saturday, 13 April 2019, 15:53
Subject: Tues.19.3.19 daily digest
The recent Mon.22.3.19 posting was mislabelled; it was Mon.18.3.19.
[All twitter missing].
Melbourne Express, Tuesday, March 19, 2019
9.07 Major delays on the Werribee line and minor waits fror Craigieburn passengers. Keep an ear out for announcements if you're still commuting.
The final piece of Metro Tunnel's first tunnel-boring machine has arrived.
7.09 There are major delays on the Werribee lines thanks to that earlier police incident at Southern Cross.
6.40 There's been a police 'request' [demand] at Melbourne Southern Cross, which has created some delays. Services were stopped from going through the loop during the operation.
5.46 All clear on the trains so far.
Parkdale station: St Bede’s student almost hit by train, sparks level crossing safety patrol boost
Tues.19.3.19 Moorabbin Kingston Leader
video: Teens' frightening near miss with train
Teenagers are dicing with death by crossing train tracks illegally to get to school.
Metro Trains is beefing up security at several Melbourne stations to stop students putting their lives at risk just to save a few minutes.
The critical situation hit tipping point when footage emerged of several St Bede’s College students narrowly avoiding death after ignoring warning signals and running in front of a moving train at Parkdale station.
Video of the terrifying near-miss has been shown to St Bede’s students by a new taskforce made up of Metro Trains’ Community Education Unit and Victoria Police Transit Proactive Unit members.
The taskforce will patrol stations enforcing Operation Jet — an 11-week campaign to increase students’ awareness of safety at level crossings.
Metro officers will also speak at schools to highlight the dangers of risky behaviour on tracks.
According to Metro trains, more than 200 pedestrian incidents occur at level crossings each year including two near misses at Parkdale since July.
The operation was launched at St Bede’s College due to the estimated 1500 students who use the notorious Parkdale level crossing.
Metro Trains officer Luke Martin patrols Parkdale station as part of Operation Jet.
Parkdale along with Berwick, Beaconsfield, Officer, Yarraville, Thornbury, Hoppers Crossing, Mentone, Prahran and Pascoe Vale are the top ten stations with the biggest number of dangerous incidents involving schoolchildren.
In 2004 a student died at the Bentleigh level crossing, which has now been removed.
St Bede’s deputy principal Mark Jones said students who don’t use level crossings correctly are making a bad decision which could lead to “disastrous consequences”.
“Our message to all students is to always look out for potential dangers before they act,” he said.
“At St Bede’s College, student safety is a priority — and it’s important that students understand that this concern extends beyond the gates of the school.”
Metro Trains chief executive Raymond O’Flaherty said they were focused on teaching children how to be safe around trains.
“Operation Jet will be visiting schools and patrolling our level crossings to empower students to change their behaviour and be a role model to their classmates,” he said.
The smug and useless PTV removed the pedestrian subway at Yarraville (and at one of the Brightons), and then had the arrogance to put the station on a 'dangerous' list. Of course pedestrians don't want to be delayed, or to miss an infrequent train or bus on the far side.
SCHOOLS PUSH FOR MORE PSOS AT MENTONE STATION
Government touts climate modelling as proof Labor will 'punish families' March 19, 2019.
Coal exporters forced to divert ships as China port delays intensify March 19, 2019
Driverless metro trains offer glimpse into Sydney's transport future March 19, 2019 108 comments
"We're off," exclaimed Premier Gladys Berejiklian, as the driverless train quickly accelerated before hitting speeds of 100km/h.
Aboard a new metro train in Sydney's north west, she summed up the sensation passengers will feel aboard services in May when the new rail line from Rouse Hill to Chatswood opens.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Transport Minister Andrew Constance take a ride on a metro train in Sydney's north west.Credit:Nick Moir
Sydney Metro Northwest is the government’s signature transport project, and one the Coalition is eager to showcase ahead of the state election on Saturday.
While not without its critics, the multibillion-dollar metro project is a major step change for the state's rail network, mirroring rail lines in cities such as Singapore and Dubai.
In two months, the first passengers to walk past glass-screen doors on station platforms and into carriage interiors will be struck by the differences to Sydney's double-deck trains.
Those differences range from the seats that line each side of the metro carriages to the ability for passengers to easily walk from one end of the 126-metre-long trains to the other.
The driverless metro trains are due to start regular passenger services in May. Credit:Nick Moir
Perhaps the most noticeable difference is there is no driver. Passengers can peer out the front of the train onto the rail tracks, or out the rear window at the back.
As is typical of metro trains, a greater proportion of passengers are set to stand during their journeys. Sydney's six-carriage metro trains have room for 378 seated passengers and 774 standing.
Sydney Metro chief executive Jon Lamonte said the high frequency of services at one train every four minutes in both directions would help overcome concerns about seating, and he believed "people will get used to it".
Inside one of the driverless metro trains. Credit: Matt O'Sullivan
"Many people will take short hops as well. People will get used to it very quickly and they'll love it," he said. "The acceleration, the deceleration, the smooth running – that's what people are going to notice."
With the outcome of the state poll on a knife edge, Ms Berejiklian promised voters that the Northwest Metro was a "taste of what's to come" for Sydney's public transport, as she confirmed the project had been delivered $1 billion under budget at a total cost of about $7.3 billion.
"This Northwest Metro is going to change lives – it's going to reduce congestion," she said on the campaign trail on Tuesday. "You're going to see so many fewer cars on the roads but people having a better experience."
The extent of the automation of the line is mind blowing. The system is programmed to run itself, from the moment the first trains roll up to stations every morning.
Operators keep watch over the rail system, rather than push buttons in a control centre to command the trains to run. They are aided by more than 1000 cameras positioned at the 13 stations and along the track, as well as 38 cameras on each train.
The rail line still needs approval from the National Rail Safety Regulator before it can start regular passenger services. Once opened, the journey time for commuters travelling from Tallawong Station at Rouse Hill to Chatswood is estimated at 37 minutes.
Fares on the metro line operated by Hong Kong's MTR will be the same as Sydney's existing suburban rail network.
Related Article The government says express buses from the north west to the central city via the M2 motorway will remain unchanged. New metro line signals change ahead for commuter habits
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Sydney ferry users biggest beneficiaries from cut to weekly fare cap March 19, 2019. 6 View all comments
Commuters from Sydney's waterfront suburbs who frequently use ferries will be among the biggest beneficiaries of the Berejiklian government's promise to lower the weekly cap on fares for public transport to $50.
With cost-of-living pressures a key election issue, the Coalition has vowed to cut the weekly cap on Opal fares by 21 per cent from $63.20 to $50 if it is returned to power.
Ferry users will be among the biggest winners from a cut to the weekly Opal fare cap. Credit: Michele Mossop
They argue up to 55,000 commuters will benefit from the lower cap and thousands will save up to $686 a year.
While long-distance train commuters will be beneficiaries, Sydney University senior transport lecturer Geoffrey Clifton said ferry users would be among the biggest winners.
"The beneficiaries of the ferry services tend to be wealthier people or tourists, neither of whom need a publicly subsidised transport service," he said.
Commuters using an Adult Opal card pay $7.51 for a one-way ferry trip of 9 kilometres or more, and $6.01 for a shorter journey. In comparison, a train costs $5.05 for a trip of up to 35km during peak periods, or $4.40 for between 10 and 20km, and $3.54 for shorter trips.
The Coalition has pledged to cut the cap on weekly Opal fares from $63.20 to $50. Credit: Peter Rae
A report for the state’s pricing regulator in late 2015 showed more than one in six ferry users – or almost 17 per cent – always reach the $60 weekly travel cap, followed by those catching light rail services at nearly 14 per cent, bus at 8.8 per cent and train at 7.9 per cent.
And in a final report on transport fares in 2016, the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal recommended the government raise the weekly cap for Adult Opal fares to $72 by this year.
But Transport Minister Andrew Constance said the government was “providing a network for everybody” in promising to lower the weekly cap on public transport.
“I am not going to engage in class-based politics. Right across the board, those commuters from Tuggerah, Kiama, Penrith, the south-west ... are all going to benefit. It is an absolute winner for them,” he said.
But Dr Clifton said a two-tier weekly cap, whereby the limit on the cost of fares was higher for ferries than other transport modes, might be a better option because ferries were more costly on a per passenger basis for the state to operate than trains and buses.
A reduction in the cap to $50 would lower the amount of revenue the state collected to help cover the cost of operating public transport services, he said.
“Our fares are pretty reasonable by international standards, and this is going to make them cheaper," he said.
"There is a question as to whether that is the right way to go. If the government has extra money to spend on public transport, it is a win for those users, but maybe we would be better investing it in more services than [a reduction] in fares."
Labor has pledged to give school students free travel all year round, while the Greens are proposing $1 fares on all modes of public transport.
Related Article Labor promises to extend free public transport to all children
Australian coal in the firing line of Chinese 'environmental' crackdown March 19, 2019
It could take years to hire 200 new train drivers for Queensland Rail March 19, 2019.
Since the start of rolling cancellations on Queensland Rail trains shone a light on driver shortages and an unsustainable reliance on overtime, only 66 net new drivers have been recruited.
That is about one new driver every 12 days from October 21, 2016, until February 1 this year, taking into account natural attrition.
Transport Minister Mark Bailey said there were 81 train drivers currently in training.Credit:AAP Image/ Dan Peled
Of those, 20 are working as tutors or train operator inspectors, but are available to drive trains when required.
The Strachan inquiry into Queensland Rail's woes recommended 200 new drivers and 200 guards be hired to restore reliability to the timetable.
At the current rate, it would take 1691 days – or until September 19, 2023 – to reach the goal of 200 new drivers on the network.
However, those 200 drivers were supposed to be qualified by June 30, 2019, according to the Strachan report.
In March last year, Queensland Rail chief executive Nick Easy told the ABC he was confident they would reach their driver target by late 2019.
On October 21, more than 100 trains were cancelled across south-east Queensland due to a shortage of train drivers following the opening of the Redcliffe Peninsula Line, with rolling cancellations highlighting serious issues within Queensland Rail.
Queensland Rail introduced a new, reduced timetable to cope, and during last year's estimates hearings, Mr Easy was unable to say when services would be restored.
LNP transport spokesman Steve Minnikin said the current number of new drivers was "woefully short".
"We need 200 drivers to fix rail fail but so far Labor has only managed to recruit 46," he said.
Mr Minnikin said it could take six-and-a-half to seven years to restore the timetable with the current train driver recruitment rate.
Since the driver numbers were revealed following an LNP question on notice, Transport Minister Mark Bailey said there was now a net gain of 69 drivers and 101 guards since October 2016.
Under the Palaszczuk government, 131 drivers and 273 guards had completed their training and were now operating on the Queensland Rail network.
An external recruitment drive from August 2017 had attracted more than 10,000 applications.
Mr Bailey said last year, more guards and drivers were in training than were trained the entire time the LNP was in government.
"It was on the LNP's watch that driver training was cancelled in 2014, and driver recruitment suspended," he said.
"Right now, there are 81 drivers currently in training and a further 35 external offers have been made to commence driver training this year.
"Additionally, training time frames for drivers has decreased from 18 months to an average of 13.45 months."
Meanwhile, commuters have increasingly been left stranded on platforms.
A total of 528 services skipped at least one station in the past seven months, compared with 201 services during the same period in 2017-18.
That was an increase of 163 per cent.
LNP leader Deb Frecklington said station skipping allowed drivers to meet punctuality targets but caused chaos for customers. Services which skip stations can be recorded as on-time.
"This is not a good way to treat the commuters of Queensland," she said.
But Mr Bailey said only a very small number of services skipped one or more stops.
"Just 0.17 per cent of services skipped one or more stops in January 2019," he said.
"These figures represent a tiny fraction of the number of stations trains stop at in the 7828 services delivered by Queensland Rail every week."
Mr Bailey said Queensland Rail generally only ran a service express through some stations if the next service was fewer than five minutes away to minimise disruptions.
"In most cases, changes to stopping patterns only affect one to three stops..
"These decisions are not about meeting on-time running targets but about achieving the best possible outcome for customers and the network overall."
Related Article Just 16 extra drivers manning Queensland Rail trains
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Start date revealed for Canberra's light rail system March 19, 2019.
Canberra's light rail system will start taking passengers on April 20, Transport Minister Meegan Fitzharris has confirmed, ending months of speculation about the commencement date.
Ms Fitzharris said there would be free travel on Canberra's public transport system on the Easter weekend to mark the launch of the system.
Light rail will be officially launched on April 20.Credit:Karleen Minney
"We want to have a huge celebration to mark light rail starting in Canberra and we need to start planning for that now that Canberra Metro have provided us a date," Ms Fitzharris said.
However the start date is still subject to Canberra Metro obtaining approvals for the project from the third-party rail regulator.
Ms Fitzharris said "we’ll need to be a little bit flexible about what that process entails but the advice to me is that Canberra Metro will be starting operations in the middle of April and therefore we can have a community open day on Saturday, the 20th of April".
"Yes it’s certainly a tight schedule and there are a number of components to complete but as you can see the progress is huge and with the light rail vehicles running up and down the route now we are working through those final arrangements so Canberra Metro can get full accreditation," Ms Fitzharris said.
Ms Fitzharris said there would be "contingencies in place" if the April 20 date could not be met.
Canberra Metro is in the final testing and approvals phase on the Gungahlin to Civic stage of the project.
Construction on the project began in July 2016, after the ACT government announced the Canberra Metro consortium as the successful tenderer in February of that year.
It was originally due to be finished in late December 2018, but the operational date was pushed back until early 2019 after construction delays.
But while the tram is yet to begin officially operating, a driver has already been suspended after running a red light and almost hitting a car on March 9.
In an unrelated incident 40 minutes earlier, a pedestrian was struck after walking out in front of a tram with headphones on.
Ms Fitzharris said the rail regulators were aware of the incidents but had not expressed concern to her knowledge. There had been no more incidents, she also said.
However she said the regulator would look at driver training and the signalling system after the driver ran the red light.
She also said the pedestrian strike had heightened awareness about light rail safety, although Canberra Metro had since deployed customer service staff at key intersections since to help guide pedestrians.
"We will be rolling out further campaigns around safety, we have a campaign ready to go with the ACT Brumbies and we have further messaging right along the corridor," Ms Fitzharris said.
"Certainly we have tested Canberra Metro's effectiveness with their communications and safety awareness and it has been high.
"I guess as unfortunate as the incident was many people in the Canberra community have been talking about that and I hope continue to do that."
The new integrated public transport timetable will begin on April 29, with a month of free travel on Canberra's light rail and bus network.
Asked why the start of the new timetable would not be brought forward to April 20, Ms Fitzharris said to have both light rail and the new bus network starting on the same day was "perhaps not optimal".
All I want to say is that, they don’t really care about us. March 19, 2019 9 comments
Footy fans to face commuter chaos for opening round
Herald Sun March 19, 2019
Footy fans face commuter chaos for the opening round of the AFL season with train and traffic gridlock to send Melbourne’s sporting precinct into turmoil.
Buses will replace trains on many of the city’s busiest lines, adding up to an hour to the journey of fans flocking to the footy.
Frankston, Cranbourne, Pakenham, Glen Waverley and Sandringham line passengers will have services stopping at Richmond replaced by buses over the weekend.
And — with up to 200,000 fans expected at MCG matches — supporters have been urged to leave home earlier than ever to avoid missing the action due to the commuter crush.
The MCC has warned “significant disruptions’’ to train lines and services would affect fans travelling to matches at the MCG throughout the 2019 AFL season.
MCC spokesman Bradley Green said fans should expect ongoing delays.
“We encourage fans to plan ahead and give themselves plenty of time to get the MCG this season,’’ he said.
“At times during the season, there may be changes to the normal ways people head to the ground, particularly through Richmond station.’’
Football crowds at the Richmond station. Picture: Tim Carrafa
Road closures are set to further frustrate motorists due to works scheduled at the same time as the AFL’s long awaited return.
Motorists trying to get to the MCG will have to navigate the confusing new P Turn intersection at Punt Rd and the traffic jams along surroundings streets it has caused.
Brunton Avenue will be closed to all vehicle traffic in both directions during MCG matches.
A popular footbridge between Melbourne Park and the MCG has been closed until 2023, making it tougher still for fans to get to the footy.
And public parking in Yarra Park will be banned for Thursday night’s Richmond-Carlton blockbuster and Friday night’s Collingwood-Geelong clash, in response to ongoing terror fears.
With strict security, bag checks and metal detector wanding at gates, fans have been urged to arrive up to two hours before the first bounce to ensure they don’t miss the action.
AFL Fans’ Association president Gerry Eeman feared the transport and traffic jam could keep crowds away, especially families.
“It will keep some people away,’’ he said.
“It depends on individual members but if someone was 50-50 this is the sort of thing that might turn you off.’’
Up to 90,000 people are expected at the season opener between the Tigers and Blues and more than 75,000 are tipped to attend the Pies-Cats clash.
Public Transport Users Association spokesman Daniel Bowen said there would “be very few trains going to Richmond and the MCG, particularly from the southern and southeastern suburbs.’’
“These big events are really where replacement buses do struggle, they can’t cope with the loads trains can manage,’’ he said.
“You would hope they have adequately planned this as there are a lot of lines knocked out of action this weekend.
“One would have thought if there was a choice they could have staged this to close the lines on different weekends.’’
Big crowds are expected at Richmond Station as commuters try to head home.
Public Transport Minister Melissa Horne said: “we remind Victorians heading to the footy, or any of our other great major events — we urge them to plan ahead to avoid delays.”
The shut down will also impact fans heading to Marvel Stadium for matches on Saturday night and Sunday.
In a bid to accommodate fans, the MCC will extend its buggy transfer services for mobility impaired fans with stops at Richmond and Jolimont Stations and William Barak Bridge.
Parking will open in Yarra Park for Saturday’s Melbourne-Port Adelaide match, expected to draw at least 40,000 fans.
Mr Green said the MCC would “endeavour to open the car park as often as possible’’ on days fans were stuck in public transport hell.
“We advise fans to check the PTV and Metro websites on match days, to plan their schedule,’’ he said.