Fw: Thurs.28.1.21 daily digest
  Roderick Smith

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Thanks to Mal for the prompt background story for the Neighbours tram.





Thurs.28.1.21 Metro Twitter
Mernda line: Buses replace trains Clifton Hill - Mernda from 9pm to last train tonight, while project works take place.

Which state borders are open and which have been slammed shut? January 28, 2021

Speeding and toll road fines top list of Queenslanders’ $1.32b debt Felicity Caldwell January 28, 2021
Leadfoot motorists and people who have racked up unpaid road tolls are the biggest culprits driving Brisbane’s ballooning debts with the Queensland’s State Penalties Enforcement Registry.
Brisbane Times can reveal the top 10 offences contributing to the state’s mounting debt, broken down by region.
Queensland’s SPER debt continues to rise, hitting $1.32 billion.CREDIT:RYAN OSLAND
Speeding fines topped the list in Brisbane’s inner-city, north, south and west, totalling $42 million in those areas alone.
However, unpaid toll road fines were the biggest category for people living in Brisbane’s east, which includes Wynnum, Cleveland and Chandler, with 52,044 debts totalling $10 million.
The Logan and Beaudesert region was the worst in the state for unpaid tolls, racking up more than $41 million in debt.
SPER is responsible for the collection and enforcement of unpaid fines and court-ordered penalties, including for speeding, unpaid tolls, fare evasion and Victim Assist Queensland, which pays compensation to victims of crime.
It comes as the total SPER debt in Queensland has soared to $1.32 billion in December, up from $1.29 billion one year ago.
SPER collected $119.3 million in payments by the end of December for the 2020-21 year.
Fare evasion also made the top 10 list across Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Ipswich, Logan and Beaudesert, and Moreton Bay, with offenders owing tens of millions of dollars.
TransLink reports up to $25 million is lost to fare evasion on the south-east Queensland network each year, which could have been reinvested in new and improved public transport.
A Treasury spokesman said if an individual or organisation did not act on the enforcement order by the due date, usually 28 days, SPER would take enforcement actions.
These could include issuing a fine collection notice to banks or employers, registering interests over property, clamping and seizing vehicles and suspending driver licences.
“SPER debts don’t just go away and the consequences can be serious, so it is important that people deal with their debt,” he said.
The Palaszczuk government passed laws in 2017 to offer more options to people suffering hardship in paying their debts.
It allowed people to participate in work programs to reduce their debt without having to pay cash.
RELATED ARTICLE The SPER debt has grown to $1.18 billion. Unpaid tolls, failing to vote: How Queenslanders racked up $1.18 billion debt
RELATED ARTICLE A bill to make changes at SPER has prompted an angry reaction from people with debts. SPER bill prompts angry reaction from people with debts

Research shows 26 per cent of Victorians feel unsafe catching PT at night. Kieran Rooney January 28, 2021
More than a quarter of Victorians feel unsafe catching public transport at night, more than any other state.
Protective Services Officers patrol Melbourne’s public transport system.
Victorians are more concerned about catching public transport at night than any other state, with more than a quarter of people saying they felt unsafe after dark.
New research from the Productivity Commission’s annual Report on Government Services shows that the share of people in the state who do not feel safe using the network at night has risen to 26 per cent in 2019-20.
The national average for for the same figure was 20.8 per cent.
Crime statistics show there were 12,911 recorded offences on public transport for the 12 months to September in 2020.
Public Transport Users Association spokesman Daniel Bowen said the network was secure but that it was important Victorians feelt like their safety was being cared for.
It comes after Infrastructure Victoria last week flagged a sluggish return to public transport and predicted a traffic nightmare if more was not done to get people back on to trains, trams and buses.
“While the public transport system is very safe, it’s vital that passengers also feel safe,” Mr Bowen said.
“The presence of staff makes a big difference to the way people feel about any public space. “That doesn’t necessarily mean PSOs at every station and on every vehicle – even a more consistent presence from regular public transport staff around the system will help.
“Ultimately a busy system is also a safe system.
“The government will need to ensure people are confident to get back onto public transport as Melbourne comes back to normal.”
In New South Wales, the share of people who felt unsafe on public transport was at 18.9 per cent.
Opposition public transport spokesman David Davis said perceptions of safety on the network had deteriorated over the last five years.
“Victorian public transport commuters are entitled to feel safe, but too many don’t feel secure of our transport system,” he said.
“How will we ever maximise the usage of public transport if commuters don’t feel safe?”
A spokeswoman said the government was regularly upgrading safety features such as CCTV cameras, emergency assistance buttons and enhanced lighting at stations.
“Getting Victorians where they need to go safely is our top priority – and we want to assure the community that our public transport network is safe and secure, with support always nearby if it’s needed,” she said.
“Police and PSOs are always patrolling our network – and our transport operators and customer service staff work at stations and on vehicles to help keep Victorians safe as they travel.”
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* I travel late at night often.  My worry is at connection points, with long waits in bleak places. The psos are useless: the money would have been spent better on more frequent services. I've come home from theatre nights in Dandenong, Frankston and Upper Ferntree Gully without an issue.  I've been in the last train of the night from a different suburb: the carriage was full of young people heading to nightclubs: just bubbly happy drunk. The only time when I had a gang from the other side of town board my carriage, I was marking exams.  The youngest cocky one sauntered over: 'They look like maths papers; that's my favourite subject at school'.  The only time when I was mugged on a train was in Johannesburg, when I was on a line where I shouldn't have gone. at midday.
* I would feel unsafe with the way the PSO’s act. Mate is a bus driver and had an unruly drugged up passenger get on at Southern Cross, asked pso’s to deal with it. They would not get on the bus because there wasn’t enough room for them, declared it an OH&S issue.
* I live in Tarneit, I’m scared and on edge all the time.
* 12,911 offences in a year is more than one an hour, and they are only the ones being reported. As with the virus, if you vote Labor, you get chaos.
* People feel unsafe catching trains any time of day. If there are too few people travelling it feels even more unsafe. There are too many weirdos on trains, buses, trams, even walking the streets.
* This Dan’s world, he promised to jail these thugs and what’s happened under his watch, it’s worse
* Discrimination is rife on public transport Tax payers pay and a great deal of unemployed and others treat the system with out care It is high time for the state government to instil a no ticket no travel The unfortunate and the struggling can see their welfare service and receive a daily weekly or monthly pass We need to educate the young and the new responsible behaviour not fare evasion witch is a crime
* The law does not protect law abiding citizens. It protects the law breakers these days.
* With the exception of last year with no footy I have travelled up and down from central Victoria to Richmond and never seen any pso or policeman on any station. Fairy stories, and you wonder why people feel unsafe.
* It all started to go downhill once they got rid of the conductors. Bring them back and create jobs at the same time and allow them to sell tickets for the ones that don't have a myki. Better system, better employment and commuters will feel safer too. win win win
* No surprises there, try catching the train to West Richmond - a hop & a skip to the Injecting room
* Justice system has collapsed in Victoria under the regime you don’t know who is out there at night
* We do know who is out there at night, that is why people do not feel safe.
* The PSOs aren’t much chop. They’re a great idea but too useless.
* Wouldn’t catch public transport these days, even if it was free. Full of foul mouthed, unemployed feral youth, and you put your life at jeopardy. Sorry, but this govt. panders to youth crime, not protection for long suffering commuters.
* Actually more people on the train is safer than less - you think only weirdos catch a train now where before the virus it was respectable - so you feel scared sharing with 1 person than 30 people
* New research from the Productivity Commission’s annual Report on Government Services shows that the share of people in the state who do not feel safe using the network at night has risen to 26 per cent in 2019-20. - Article. You forgot to mention that the share of people in the state who do not feel safe walking down the street in Melbourne at night is 45 per cent.
* It's because the Law doesn't protect people, people who commit crimes are back on the streets committing more crimes.  Blame the woke courts who feel sorry for the criminals.... Singapore Law is the Best... And it works.
* Can I ask how old the picture of police and PSO's was in this article? 10 years? Are we short on cameras? Do you want to use my phone?
* unless the government changes its softly softly approach and starts punishing criminals, no one will feel safe anywhere. why should law abiding citizens continue to put up with this governments lack of concern for its citizens.
* We once had a team of Investigators who rode our trains day and night, with no uniform or dress code, catching offenders and zero tolerance. Without bias all names were taken and referred to Prosecutors who decided appropriate action. They made the rail system safe and were later recreated to include all Melbourne Transport. They even took the name of a Politicians Partner which basically led to their demise. I know because I was one of them.  
* See story about the Pakenham Good Samaritan to answer the question "Why we don't feel safe on public transport at night"
* Yes, PSO’s may be at stations but once on the train, bus or tram you are left to fend for yourself. Victoria’s pathetic justice system means violent or drunk passengers can be as aggressive or abusive as they like without fear of serious consequences should they be identified. Until Victoria’s justice system acts as a deterrent to violent offenders of any age then people will be fearful of using public transport. The government lead by Denial Dan will continue to offer spin, excuses and denials but nothing will actually done to protect citizens.
* I’m puzzled about why there are still so many trains running when only a handful use them, even since the easing of restrictions. Why still have the weekend 24 hour service? Is this just more waste to the Victorian taxpayer to keep a bunch of government-subsidised employees in jobs while a lot of us (not in government jobs) wonder how to earn a dollar?
* seek the empty buses? More is spent on bus contracts than the trains
* the short answer is yes, they ran right throughout lockdown.
* what happened to the PSO's on every Station till the last train?
* Covid and changing police service requirements ordered by the government happened, including being deployed to man quarantine hotels, border check points and other deployments. 
* pso's won't lift a finger to stop gangs, even though they are armed
* PSOs are also armed.
* exactly. Never seen one late at night.

Thurs.28.1.21 Melbourne 'Herald Sun' New scare on Bourke St Mall JOSH FAGAN & MILES PROUST
Police try to intercept a speeding car and (below) interview pedestrians. Pictures: ROB LEESON, SUPPLIED
A SPEEDING car forced pedestrians to flee for their lives as the driver raced erratically through Bourke Street Mall late on Thursday afternoon, in scenes reminiscent of the deadly 2017 terror attack.
The driver was on the run on Thursday night after evading police, who later found the car in Albert Park.
Officers had attempted to pull over the green Mitsubishi Lancer — which they believed had fake number plates — on Bourke Street, near Swanston Street, about 4.55pm before it mounted a kerb and sped off.
No one was hurt in the terrifying incident, a week after Melbourne marked the fourth anniversary of the 2017 attack in which James Gargasoulas mowed down pedestrians, killing six and injuring 27.
Witnesses said the car smashed into a security bollard — one of dozens installed in the mall as a result of the 2017 incident — before a male passenger leapt from it and fled along Elizabeth Street.
Security guard Addy Shah said he rushed out of the Cotton On clothing store when he heard the “huge bang” of the car ploughing into the bollard.
“The guy was driving so fast and just hit the pole at speed,” he said.
He said a police car was directly behind the vehicle and one officer drew his gun.
“He (the policeman) was pointing the gun at the car but it was such a busy street and there were so many people around, that would have blocked his view. The car was speeding off … but he didn’t pull the trigger.”
He said a man in the passenger seat jumped out and bolted around the corner down Elizabeth Street.
“As soon as the car hit the pole he just opened the door and ran away. I’ve never seen someone galloping that quick.”
Mr Shah, 25, said two police cars followed the speeding car but it appeared no officers were trailing the man who ran from the scene.
He said the action was all over in about a minute.
“It kind of gives you a shiver I guess. There would be a bit of trauma for people walking along the footpath. I think everyone is glad no one was hit,” he said.
Shane Lowe said the driver was “really flooring it” with terrified pedestrians “running up against the walls and into shops”.
He said by that stage the driver appeared to be alone. He was wearing a face mask, had scruffy blonde hair and looked to be aged 25-35.
The front of the car was severely damaged, he said.
Lauren Tubog of South Melbourne was watching a busker perform in the mall when the car tore up the street.
She said as soon as the car crashed the passenger opened the door and fled. “The dude just ran for it,” she said.
The police air wing initially tracked the car to St Kilda, and it was found in Ashworth Street, Albert Park, about 6.40pm, without any plates. The identity of its driver was unknown.
Police on Thursday night said: “At this stage police do not believe the vehicle was intending to harm pedestrians, instead it was taking evasive action to avoid police intercept.”
Police have appealed for any video footage.

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