Fw: Thurs.21.1.21 daily digest
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Thurs.21.1.21 Metro Twitter
Buses replace trains Dandenong - Cranbourne until the last train of Thurs.21 Jan (works).
17.43 Sandringham line: Major delays (an ongoing equipment fault near Brighton Beach).
0.37 Frankston line: Major delays (an 'operational incident').  All outbound services will terminate at Kananook. A taxi shuttle will operate between Kananook and Frankston.

COVID-19 IN AUSTRALIA updated 10.05am on Jan 21, 2021
9 New cases (Jan 21)    188 Active cases    25943 Recovered    909 Deaths

As it happened: NSW restrictions likely to be eased next week as masks no longer mandatory in Brisbane; Angus Thompson and David Estcourt January 21, 2021.
19.08 SUMMARY:
- NSW has recorded a fourth consecutive day without a local coronavirus case, while Victoria reached 15 days without community transmission. Queensland recorded no new local cases for the 10th day in the row.
- NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has confirmed that restrictions will most likely be eased next week, but not before Australia Day.
- NSW has recorded its fourth consecutive day without a local coronavirus case, reporting five cases in hotel quarantine. NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has confirmed that restrictions will ease next week, but not in time for Australia Day celebrations.
- Victoria has clocked up its 15th straight day without a new locally acquired case, with one person in hotel quarantine testing positive.
- Masks will no longer be mandatory in Brisbane, and restrictions on home gatherings will be lifted from Friday after the state recorded no new locally acquired cases for the 10th day in a row.
- West Australian Premier Mark McGowan has said he is "very pleased" with the progress of Queensland's COVID-19 control but is yet to receive health advice on when he could drop hard border measures.
video Coronavirus: One year on 9News’ Charles Croucher breaks down the ways in which our lives changed exactly one year ago after it was reported that coronavirus had officially entered our country.
* 13.25 NSW records no new cases as vaccine rollout details revealed. Mary Ward and Rachel Clun. Masks remain mandatory on public transport and in other settings in Greater Sydney as NSW records a fourth consecutive day without a coronavirus case.CREDIT:LOUIE DOUVIS
* 10.06 Felicity Caldwell. Masks will no longer be mandatory in Brisbane as restrictions are lifted from Friday. “Of course if you are going into a crowded area on public transport or in a shopping centre, where you can’t socially distance and you feel uncomfortable, just put a mask on, that’s up to you,” she said.  Businesses, including cafes and restaurants can return to having one customer per every 2sqm. Weddings can now have 200 guests, people can stand and drink in licensed premises, dancing can return, venues with allocated seating can have 100 per cent capacity, 50 people can gather in private homes and 100 people can gather in public spaces, like parks.
* 9.18 Victorians snag 40,000 travel vouchers within 30 minutes. Keen travellers have snapped up 40,000 regional travel vouchers issued by the Victorian government within half an hour of them being released.
The second round of the Regional Travel Voucher Scheme, providing $200 to put towards trips to country Victoria, was exhausted within 30 minutes of their release online at 10am Wednesday.
Those who too slow to nab their voucher will have to wait until the next round is released on March 30.
The system ran more smoothly on Wednesday than during the release of vouchers in December, which saw the vic.gov.au/regional-travel-voucher-scheme website crash due to demand.
At the time, Business Victoria apologised to holidaymakers after tens of thousands of people were left disappointed as they were unable to apply for a voucher.
The vouchers can be put towards accomodation, tours or meals during trips to locations around regional Victoria.CREDIT:JUSTIN MCMANUS
* 9.05 Opinion: Cities, the magnets of civilisation, have lost their pulling power. Maybe it is Australia’s ageing workforce that has made working from home so welcome as the new normal. All that effort on overcrowded public transport, with stiffening limbs and uncertain balance, is no longer necessary. For the mums and dads, sitting angry and alone in traffic, wasting time that could otherwise be spent supervising homework or footy practice, working from home is also a mostly welcome refuge.
Yes, COVID-19 is changing everything, but it will change cities the most. For white-collar service economies such as Australia’s, the future of cities has never looked so bleak. The world is hell-bent on de-concentrating, and cities may be its first victims.
As CT Group’s latest insight trackers’ survey finds, about a third of Australians, British and Americans believe their working lives have permanently changed. Less than half of Australians have returned full time to the office and, even with a vaccine, don’t intend to do so. There is no good news in this for cities. Yet, as elsewhere, Australia’s cities have been the engine rooms of modern growth; we must reinvent them for a post-COVID world or pay an enormous price.
Ever visited a city that didn’t boast grunge (Canberra does not count)? The grungier the city, the more people want to live in it. Melbourne, take heed. You are far too pleasant. Then there’s the street jostling, badly behaved crowds, huge inequalities, hustlers and more than the occasional rat. This is the nature of cities; it brings them their vibrancy, their creativity, their tension, their crime rates. It also brings great art galleries, theatres, public spaces, ideas and other marvels. It makes them the magnets of civilisation.
Deserted city streets ... we need to give them a new allure. CREDIT:GETTY
* 7.21 Here are the top stories from overnight:
After an extremely disrupted 2020, there is finally good news for more than 1 million students returning to schools in Victoria next week – life will be mostly back to normal.
Some restrictions will stay in place: masks will be recommended (but not mandatory) for secondary schools and parents must record their details for contact tracing if they are at school for more than 15 minutes.

'More needs to be done': Morrison's gas deal fails to ignite manufacturers' support. Mike Foley January 21, 2021

Brisbane Metro CBD tunnelling to start this year. Lucy Stone January 21, 2021
Construction on a tunnel under Adelaide Street for the $1.2 billion Brisbane Metro is expected to begin in late 2021.
The tunnel will allow the metro's electric vehicles travel along Adelaide Street, through to King George Square bus station, while avoiding above-ground buses, pedestrians and general traffic.
video Brisbane Metro's Adelaide Street Tunnel
Brisbane City Council has released concept images of the planned Adelaide Street Tunnel for its $1.2 billion Brisbane Metro public transport project.
Its entry point at North Quay will allow buses and metro vehicles to cross the Victoria Bridge and enter Adelaide Street without meeting general traffic, after the bridge is closed permanently to private vehicles on January 24.
Lord mayor Adrian Schrinner also released new design images of the Adelaide Street boulevard, with cosmetic work slated to upgrade the street as tunnelling is underway.
"We know that Adelaide Street ... has safety issues with people crossing the road, with a large number of pedestrians, and we have announced our plans to transform Adelaide Street to a more people-friendly place, and today we're releasing the images of what it will look like post-Brisbane Metro," Cr Schrinner said.
New concept images showing the planned entrance at North Quay for the Brisbane Metro Adelaide Street tunnel.CREDIT:BRISBANE CITY COUNCIL
The tunnel work will be completed by the Brisbane Metro lead consortium, Brisbane Move, and has changed its approach from a cut-and-cover design, which would have closed one side of Adelaide Street during construction, to a tunnelling design.
Neither Cr Schrinner nor public transport committee chairman Ryan Murphy, who has oversight of the project, could comment on whether the shift in construction method would increase costs.
Brisbane Move consortium partnership manager Jose Sanchez said the consortium had only briefly considered the cut-and-cover method and had not fully costed it before moving to a tunnelling approach.
Mr Sanchez said tunnelling would protect trees and landscaping on Adelaide Street, reduce interruptions for businesses and reduce congestion during construction.
The council will widen footpaths on Adelaide Street and landscape the street.CREDIT:BRISBANE CITY COUNCIL
The tunnelling is expected to take about 13 months.
Cr Schrinner said any construction detours or delays would be flagged well in advance for Brisbane commuters travelling through the city during construction.
He could not say when road closures or delays might start for the first stage of tunnel construction – the entry ramp at North Quay – but said it would be an "ongoing thing".
Opposition leader Jared Cassidy said Brisbane Metro had been redesigned multiple times with additional cost added and Cr Schrinner needed to be clear about any cost changes because of design changes.
"This project only exists on paper. We've seen no work whatsoever commenced, not one shovel has hit the ground, not one boot is on the ground whatsoever," he said.
"What we need to see is this project actually get going."
The cost of Brisbane Metro has increased from $944 million to $1.2 billion, with Cr Schrinner blaming the expanding cost partly on delays as the state government had not issued early approvals in 2019, and the expense of opting for electric vehicles for the metro.
Concept images also show how Victoria Bridge will be reworked to fit two-way cycling lanes on the downstream side of the bridge, more pedestrian space, and three lanes for Brisbane Metro and buses.
The bridge will close on Sunday to all general vehicles, with only buses, pedestrians, cyclists and scooter-riders permitted to use it.
Victoria Bridge will have a viewing platform at North Quay and a two-way cycling lane on the downstream side of the bridge.CREDIT:BRISBANE CITY COUNCIL
The council warned of delays of up to 20 minutes for drivers during the adjustment period, with drivers encouraged to use the William Jolly or Go-Between Bridge to access the south Brisbane suburbs.
Cr Schrinner said the closure should not be a surprise to motorists and delays were contingent on peoples' awareness of the bridge closure.
"We're expecting up to 70 per cent of vehicles that currently travel along Victoria Bridge to go via William Jolly Bridge," he said.
"William Jolly Bridge already takes significantly more traffic than Victoria Bridge does – Victoria Bridge takes up to 10,000 vehicles a day, but around 20,000 pedestrians and cyclists a day."
The lord mayor said that, on an "ongoing basis", the likely additional travel time for people entering and exiting the south Brisbane suburbs was five minutes.
RELATED ARTICLE The Brisbane Metro project will see a 200-metre bus tunnel constructed under Adelaide Street. Lord Mayor reveals plan to transform Adelaide Street

Labor hopes lower fares will get Transperth back on the rails. Hamish Hastie January 21, 2021
WA Labor’s commitment to reduce train fares is hoped to increase patronage on the Transperth rail network by more than 2.3 million journeys a year, but experts say it is not a silver bullet to get people back on the train.
The party’s estimate means about 6000 weekday car journeys would be taken off the road and patronage levels could reach the heady days of the mining boom, when they peaked between 63 and 65 million boardings.
Bus and train use has been hemorrhaging since the pandemic.
COVID-19 has crushed public transport use as some companies persist with work-from-home arrangements and health-conscious commuters opt to avoid the peak hour train ride for the comfort of their car.
Public Transport Authority figures from July to November show total boardings on the train network were down 1.7 million per month on average compared to the same period in 2019, while freeway traffic counters show no difference in traffic volumes.
Labor’s $60.3 million commitment over three years would see all fares capped at a two-zone price of between $4.90 and $3.90 next financial year, with lower-cost fares continuing over the following two years.
The haemorrhaging patronage makes the lower fare announcement an important tool to get outer suburban residents out of their cars and onto the train to bolster the viability of the Transperth system, which is already subsidised to the tune of $950 million.
A recent survey by RAC showed 65 per cent of those who drove regularly during peak hour would consider using public transport if it was more affordable.
However, some of WA’s most distinguished transport experts believe fares alone won't be enough to get commuters back on the rails.
Planning and Transportation Research Centre director Sharon Biermann said their research into patronage trends from 2009 to 2019 showed bus coverage and frequency pipped fare price as the biggest factor influencing commuters' decisions.
She said the fare reduction would likely increase patronage from outer areas with well-serviced access to stations, but economic conditions and improved roadways were also big factors.
Ms Biermann said the downfalls of low fares included the risk of revenue shortfalls and the promotion of urban sprawl at the expense of infill in inner-city areas.
“Even with a potential increase in commuters, commuting rates from outer areas are relatively low and increases may not be sufficient to make up for reduced fares,” she said.
Curtin University sustainability professor Peter Newman, a long time proponent of light rail and trackless trams, echoed Ms Biermann’s comments and said the full benefit of lower fares wouldn’t be realised until people could get to stations easier.
“That is the part that is really needing improvement and we will not get the full benefit from this saving of money move in those areas until we’ve got very highly co-ordinated bus services or new technology trackless trams that can bring people to those stations,” he said.
“It’s hard to get parking, so people get stuck on the buses and they lose a lot of the time advantage because they're not able to get to the station quickly and simply in a co-ordinated way.”
Mr Newman also said WA prioritised roads too much.
“It’s extraordinary how much money you can still lay your hands on to build high-capacity roads,” he said.
Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said a combination of lower fares, new Metronet lines to existing suburbs and better connections to train stations would help improve Transperth patronage.
“As part of Metronet, we're improving our connections to train stations including new pedestrian and cycling paths along with the planning of new bus feeder services as part of our stations,” she said.
“We also plan to have more housing adjacent and closer to stations at both new and redeveloped stations to encourage more people onto our train system."
Opposition transport spokeswoman Libby Mettam said the Liberals’ $81 million cycling plan would help deal with issues around the first and last mile of train stations.
“We will continue to announce comprehensive policies throughout the campaign that will also assist with this issue,” she said.
RELATED ARTICLE Domestic groups are turning their attention to the Perth office market. As Perth returns to work, here's what you can expect back in the office for 2021
* They're starting to get worried their Metronet plans are going to be shown up as the lemon they are. They can't even get people to take the existing trains and they're spending a fortune building more lines in places that will have little patronage. They're closing Welshpool Station because of low patronage and yet think stations at other industrial areas are going to thrive? How many people are really going to take the Cockburn-Thornlie line, or the Ellenbrook Line (most Ellenbrook residents are tradies who need their vehicles), or the Airport line (all this'll do is dump you in the city with your suitcases).
* In all the negative comments I see about the airport rail link, it appears no one has ever taken into consideration the fact that once at Perth central, there will probably be a heap of people transferring to other lines and taking trains to the suburbs, where they will be picked up at their local train station. I know this is what I will be doing when the line is open and we can fly interstate again. Drop off and pick up at my local station will be so much easier than needing someone to drive me in to the airport. Sadly some people cannot or will not see this, instead they just choose to blindly criticize.

Thurs.21.1.21 Melbourne 'Herald Sun' Car smashes into Carlton tram barrier, driver returns positive breath test result of 0.127
Anthony Piovesan January 21, 2021 NCA NewsWire
A flashy Mercedes is now a complete write off after it smashed into and mounted a barrier on a Melbourne tram platform.
The Braybrook man’s Mercedes AMG was written off after driving along Nicholson Street before smashing into a barrier on a tram platform near Elgin Street about 12.45am.
A driver who smashed into a tram barrier in Carlton on Thursday morning allegedly blew .127, more than double the legal limit, after the crash.
The car mounted the barrier and became stuck.
The 33-year-old and his female passenger “were very lucky they weren’t injured”, a Victoria Police spokesman said.
His licence was immediately suspended and he is expected to be charged on summons with drink driving.

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