Fw: Fri.16.4.21 daily digest
  Roderick Smith

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Fri.16.4.21 Metro Twitter
6.20 Craigieburn line: Trains are now moving, but with major delays after an earlier faulty citybound train at Roxburgh Park.
6.46  Glen Waverley line Major delays (a tram blocking rail tracks at Kooyong).
- 7.15 Buses will replace trains between Darling and Burnley.  Buses have been ordered, but may take over 60 min to arrive.
- 7.25 See the PTV website for alternatives.
- 7.32  Trains have resumed.  First trains: 6.12 ex Glen Waverley; 7.20 ex Flinders St.
In 1934 VR appointed an outstanding young scientist as its dietitian. Betty Wilmot ensured that VR served nutritious (and bacteria-free) foods throughout the 1930s. Ingredients & meals can be found in PROV’s photo collections, eg http://ow.ly/rAWP50DA6OW
8.24 Sunbury line: Major delays (a train fault at Albion).  Trains will terminate/originate at intermediate stations to 'alleviate congestion'. 
- 8.32 clearing.
- 8.33 I've been stuck at St Albans for 20 minutes with no sign of movement. Please tell us expected delay times earlier so we choose to drive instead of using this terrible service!
The current Richmond station was completed on 26 March 1960. Here it looks like landscaping is about to begin along Swan Street. View the image in high res: http://ow.ly/aEgh50Dkjk0
Display of new rollingstock at Spencer Street 1951, VPRS 12800/P1 item H 2462
19.18 Craigieburn line: Major delays (police).
- 19.29 clearing.
Pakenham/Cranbourne lines: Buses replace trains Caulfield - Westall from 20.30 until the last train of Sun 18 Apr (works).
Buses replace trains Heidelberg - Hurstbridge from 20.55 until the last train of Sun 18 Apr (maintenance works).
Sunbury/Craigieburn/Upfield lines: All trains run direct to/from Flinders St from 21.00 until the last train (maintenance works).  From loop stations, take a train from pfm 2 to Southern Cross.
21.09 Pakenham/Cranbourne lines: Major delays after a police action.
- Buses are running part of the journey anyway, so major delays all weekend

‘A long way to go’: Melburnians don’t like Mondays in the CBD. Craig Butt and Chloe Booker April 6, 2021
Commuters are eschewing office work on Mondays, as new data shows that since the end of the second lockdown fewer people are travelling into the CBD on Monday mornings than on any other weekday.
City of Melbourne data shows an 11 per cent slump in the number of pedestrians passing through the Flinders Street underpass on Monday mornings compared with a typical post-lockdown weekday.
Belinda Coates says many of her favourite cafes are now shut on a Monday due to reduced clientele.CREDIT:JOE ARMAO
As workplace number caps were gradually lifted, Belinda Coates, a director at Melbourne CBD advisory firm Slattery, found she was more likely to work from home on Mondays, with meetings often set mid-week when most staff were in the office.
However, once she was able to come into her Bourke Street office every day, she was shocked to find the city quiet on the first day of the working week. She now makes sure she works in the city on Mondays.
“Monday has always been the business day. It’s always been when the business meetings happen,” she said.
Ms Coates said that many of her favourite cafes were now shut on Mondays due to low clientele.
“I’ve found that very sad,” she said.
Victorian workplaces can now bring back 100 per cent of their staff and public servants are required to work in the office at least three days a week.
However, many city office workers are still embracing flexible working and it appears Mondays are becoming the preferred day to work from home.
Since November last year, there have been 574 pedestrians on average detected walking through the Flinders Street underpass each Monday morning between 8am and 9am, making it the quietest weekday morning for foot traffic.
Thursdays are the busiest post-lockdown weekday morning outside Flinders Street Station, with 701 pedestrians detected on average between 8am and 9am. But irrespective of the day of the week, foot traffic is still well below 2019 levels when more than 3500 people would pass through each weekday morning.
In 2019, it was Friday, rather than Monday, that was the quietest day for weekday foot traffic at the underpass.
And while Monday foot traffic was lower than the weekday average in 2019, it was nowhere near as pronounced, with morning foot traffic just 2 per cent lower on average than the rest of the week.
Since the end of the second lockdown, Monday morning pedestrian numbers have been 11 per cent below those of a typical weekday.
The data shows the same post-lockdown trend at Southern Cross Station.
In 2019, the area recorded its lowest average weekday morning peak pedestrian numbers on Fridays, but since the end of the second lockdown Monday mornings have recorded the lowest average foot traffic, with 256 people detected on average between 8am and 9am.
The same trend is observed throughout the morning, so the data does not show more people opting to travel into work earlier or later in the day.
Ms Coates in a deserted city street now typical of Mondays.CREDIT:JOE ARMAO
However, the drops in pedestrian traffic could reflect people avoiding public transport and instead opting to drive into the city post-lockdown.
Melbourne lord mayor Sally Capp said average pedestrian activity in the city was up by 12.4 per cent on the last day of March - a Wednesday - compared to the previous three weeks, but this was still down by 45 per cent compared to the pre-COVID average.
“The number of people coming into the city is increasing but we still have a long way to go and local businesses will continue to require support,” she said.
“We’re hopeful that in coming weeks we see more people coming into the city every weekday, as workers reconnect with their teammates and get the benefits of in-person collaboration.”
Cr Capp said the council was continually assessing data to deliver targeted events or programs to get people into the city when businesses most needed them.
Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Paul Guerra said CBD businesses would need to adapt their opening hours and staffing levels to accommodate the busiest trading times.
“The city definitely has a swagger that wasn’t there a week or two ago,” he said.
“However, there is no doubt that hybrid working is here to stay for most city offices and that’s something that we need to embrace and respond to as a new economy.”
Mr Guerra said workers would hopefully see the benefit of a shorter commute or getting a tram seat on a Monday.
Ms Coates said Slattery had implemented a roster to encourage staff to come into the office on a mix of days, which they hoped in turn would help local businesses survive the pandemic.
“The businesses really need us,” she said.
* Where is the mask wearing enforcement on public transport Every day on trams Undercover cops please
* Most workers are familiar with that horrible feeling that descends on Sunday evening of knowing you have to work tomorrow. So I am not surprised many (well 10%) choose to work at home that day, including those who no longer have to see Sunday night as a "school night" and can stay out late. Personally it was Friday I took as my work from home day as the "weekend starts early" and even though I was working I could relax and fit in a bit of shopping for the weekend at lunchtime rather than join the weekend crush. Monday was a hell day with an early commute (gotta love once a month tradie RDO Mondays), meetings and everyone hungover or sad. But you break the back of the week that way.
* If working from home becomes the norm, will this change the sort of employment people aspire to? A lot of students have indicated they prefer learning online. Will they want to become frontline workers like nurses, teachers and those in retail who have no choice but to pay to commute and work in the CBD and in crowded hospitals?
* Pre-COVID the government kept trying to move business activity away from the CBD, e.g. building “activity hubs” in Box Hill and Sunshine. Now that COVID has done the work for them, you realise it was all lip service and the vested interests with property in the inner city want things back the way they were.
* The burghers of Melbourne need to review and adjust to whatever the new, ever evolving reality of the CBD is. I don't know how many more times I want to hear Sally Capp or Paul Guerra complain about people not coming to the city to return it to what it once was. Maybe people went there because there was no alternative. Maybe part of their review could ask why people don't want to go back there. I'd like the CBD to return to the time when you could walk in Degraves St without bumping into 16 cafes all selling slight variations of Focaccia, but it's not going to happen and I've adjusted.
* The problem will be larger in Melbourne because the city is geographically larger than other capital cities. All those people who used to travel in for well over an hour are realising the benefits of not having to commute on unreliable public transport or clogged roads. Sorry, CBD Businesses. You'll have to adap to the new reality. Maybe it's time to move out to the suburbs instead.
* I have worked from home for more than a year now. At least 2 hours train commute time saved. On the occasions I had to drive it was 3 hours commute time. 2 hours a day gain is equal to 25% of my working year. Equal to 61 working days. Massive amount of time gained in which I can do my own thing. So there is no way I will ever consider working in the city again.
* The CBD isn't a good workplace model unless businesses need proximity to each other which has become relatively irrelevant in the e-age. Yes, I'm old school and believe that working together brings benefits, however, why not move closer to your current (or potential) workforce. Probably not a popular opinion but I also think there is a bit of "80% of people like to work from home, but 20% of people 'work' from home" ...
* My company won’t let us work from home and I am predicting there will be a lot of people leaving because of it. It’s OK for me, but others are really resentful of the unnecessary travel time and lack of flexibility.
* None of these companies is offering to pay for their workers 2-3 hour daily commute. Over a month a year. If companies need people on site they should simply have to cover their time and cost of getting there.
* I'm sorry for the businesses that are struggling, but the working from home trend has been desired for years. It isn't sustainable to keep cramming more and more people into the cbd. A lot of what was done in offices can be done from home anyway. Businesses will just need to adapt. I'm interested to see the figures in the other capitals
* I think people managing and working cafe's would also like a day off, much like restaurants do and have for years. Who wants to be open 7 days straight?
* In the country pretty much every cafe and takeaway is shut Mondays.
* ...and Fridays are not far behind. No more queues and long waiting lists at trendy bars.
* The barkeeps and baristas of Melbourne CBD are complaining via Mayor Sally Capp who they elected that they are suffering. So maybe they need to pack up and head to the 'burbs. Think how much people will appreciate small local pubs and bars like they have in Europe so you can walk home safely afterwards.
* Maybe they need to start looking at remote working rather than forcing people back into the CBD and going back to ‘this is how it was always done’. A new way of working, imagine that… The retail industry can look into relocating into the suburbs.
* Maybe it’s time to review the CBD type model of concentrated office/retail buildings if the only thing driving retail is a reliance on office workers being in proximity about 250 working days per year?
* Who likes Mondays? My partner is currently going into her city office 3 days a week. Tue-Thursday. Given the chance many will do likewise. This is the new normal. Time for people to get used to it, and start adapting.
* Time for companies and bosses to start adapting. I think the current work model started in the nineteenth century.
* I remember reading an article that the traditional office and CBD was predicted to become obsolete by the mid-21st century because of evolving technology. It would seem that we are getting to that point quicker, but it's not necessarily a bad thing. Why continue doing something (working in an office) just because that's the way it was previously done if it's not necessarily the optimum way of working? As other commentators have said, it's time for CBD retailers and commercial offices to innovate, pivot or change their business model because the 'market' has shifted.
* With our teams reporting that they are on average saving around $6000 per year (after tax) working from home (even taking into account increased bills etc) it would seem like this is a no brainer that most people will want to continue to work from home into the future. Having WFH for over a year now successfully I have no desire to return to the city myself or indeed force any of my team to return unless they want to.
* Shouldn't CBD-based small businesses respond to a changing market the same way any other business does? There must be massive opportunities to relocate some of these businesses to suburban locations where there are solid population centres. The demand for the services hasn't really changed, it's just a shift in the location.
* No. They just want to be continually propped up all the time waiting for 'normal'. What if that doesn't come for them? Do we keep propping them up forever?
* Whilst this idea has merit, you'll need to do the sums to ensure a decent return given CBD workers come from all over. It does cost a pretty penny to relocate or set up as new. I really can't see a popular CBD-based small coffee seller doing this.
* Why make people commute into the CBD if they are as able to work productively and efficiently from home? This reduces traffic congestion - a huge cost to the economy, and also reduces pollution from vehicles - a major contributor to our CO2 outputs.
* It looks like tuesdays are destined to become the new mondays.
* As a senior manager in the public service I look forward to coming back to work in the CBD daily - but will refuse to do so if MetroTrains cannot fix its ongoing stuff ups on the Frankston line. Today is yet another, almost daily, example of things that should not go wrong in 2021: poor communication (and none from drivers) AND regarding the old 'signal fault' excuse. 2 hours into the train trip and some of us are still to reach FSS. If this continues, noting MetroTrains has had a year of grace while we worked from home, I'll call it now: next year's state election will hammer ALP-held seats along the Frankston line. Again. Will politicians listen?
* I have worked from home long before COVID-19, and I can confirm that going into work on a Monday is no fun at all.

‘Pulsing with people’: Melbourne foot traffic climbs to highest level since start of pandemic. Jackson Graham April 16, 2021 
Pedestrian numbers in central Melbourne have reached their highest level since the coronavirus pandemic began.
City of Melbourne data shows pedestrian activity had returned to 72 per cent of pre-pandemic levels, a sign the city’s recovery is gaining pace.
Data shows pedestrian activity has returned to 72 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.CREDIT:JOE ARMAO
At its lowest point during the 2020 lockdown, foot traffic plummeted to less than 10 per cent of pre-pandemic levels in August.
However, Melbourne’s deputy lord mayor, Nicholas Reece, said the city streets had become more vibrant as more people returned to work and night-time crowds attended the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.
The council data revealed about 20 per cent more activity on Thursday compared with the previous three weeks.
“Every extra person in the city delivers benefits to local businesses that have struggled through the toughest trading conditions in living memory,” Cr Reece said.
“We want cash registers ringing and the best way to do that is to have our city pulsing with people.”
Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Paul Guerra said the return of foot traffic was fabulous and believed night events were doing some of the heavy lifting.
“Through events being run in a COVID-safe way like the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, the city feels alive at night,” Mr Guerra said.
“We think events and hospitality once they get to 100 per cent [capacity] will be the key to unlocking increased foot traffic.”
People board a tram in the city earlier this month. Fewer commuters are wearing masks on public transport, which is still mandatory. CREDIT:JOE ARMAO
Mr Guerra encouraged people taking public transport to wear masks, saying he believed it was crucial to people feeling safe about returning to the CBD.
Real estate company CBRE also commissioned data this month that showed traffic levels on Swanston Street had increased by 14 per cent in the first week of April, compared with the four-week average.
Cr Reece said further co-ordinated investment was needed to nurture the city’s economic recovery.
“This shows the need for ongoing investment from all levels of government to deliver initiatives that reactivate the city,” he said.
RELATED ARTICLE Belinda Coates says many of her favourite cafes are now shut on a Monday due to reduced clientele. ‘A long way to go’: Melburnians don’t like Mondays in the CBD
* Go Melbourne! In the darkest days of the second wave I always said we would come back stronger.
* Great too see our wonderful CBD getting back to near normal! Please take this advise from VCCI chief "Ben Guerra encouraged people taking public transport to wear masks, saying he believed it was crucial to people feeling safe about returning to the CBD".
* This from a friend in Sydney last night - “Yeah we have the check in apps everywhere but nobody could be stuffed using them”.
* If you are at the courting stage of your life it makes sense. But if you are settled into a relationship nah. Expensive meals drinks pushing and shoving, ubering and if you are over a certain age Comedy Festivals are not that funny. Home dinners (thanks Mr Ottolenghi,house parties BBQs watching a local game of footy hanging out in the vegetable garden zooming reading thinking? Are bringing us back to authenticity. Much as the CBD needs needs us we have discovered that we don't need it. Mind you a stroll around the Rocks this morning after a restaurant meal of epic proportions was special. Yep I will be back as a visitor to the most beautiful city in the world. But live there push my around status elevation daily? As Tolstoy said of city living is debilitating for the soul.
* I’m close to 60 and I had a great time at MICF. If you get onto something like Promotix you can get really cheap tickets. There are plenty of reasonably priced restaurants in the CBD; you just need to know where to look. Public Transport works for me, but I’m close enough to walk to the CBD. Frankly I love living in Fitzroy, lots to do, but I am a tad too old to go dancing at Yah, Yahs.
* Sydney is 800 km up the road from the city this article Dan. Just sayin:)
* Until we can get International travel up and running again we won’t get anywhere near 100% of what we used to have. Tourists and International students made up a significant percentage. I’ve been going out to restaurants and some shows with the MICF. Melbourne is, certainly, rocking again. I, particularly, love the use of the “parklets” for restaurants. Hopefully they will start getting roofs to enable them to be used during inclement weather. Around me in Fitzroy things have been “going off”.

Fri.16.4.21 Melbourne 'Herald Sun' letters:
* A future of debt. THE $1.3bn wasted to cancel the East West Link six years ago is a sign of what the next state election will be about.
With the Suburban Rail Loop rumoured to be more like $150bn-$200bn, despite the government’s estimate of $50bn, along with the West Gate Tunnel and Metro Rail blowouts, the whole financial future of the state will quickly come into focus.
When the state budget is released on May 13, many of these bungles and blowouts will have blown out further, placing Victoria in a very difficult position going forward.
And, as we approach the state election next year, a massive debt burden will become apparent to the voting public.
With the state debt forecast set to hit $155bn in 2023 already, our children and grandchildren look set to be burdened for decades into the future.

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