Fw: Mon.12.9.22 daily digest
  Roderick Smith

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Mon.12.9.22 Metro Twitter
Flinders St: still with a lane closed for tunnel works.
Because of tunnel works, Degraves St subway at Flinders St is closed until 2024. No platform transfer via Degraves St subway. Passengers should use Elizabeth & Swanston St entry/exits.  Campbell Arcade remains closed to 2024. Platform  interchange via that subway was available until mid 2022.
Bell: No lift access to platforms until Oct 2022, while works continue around the station precinct. A shuttle bus will run from Bell to Preston and Thornbury during this time.
Buses replace trains Macleod - Hurstbridge until the last train Mon 19 Sep 9 (works).
Lilydale/Belgrave lines: Union Rd and Mont Albert Rd closed until 6pm Friday 23 September, for removal work. Detour using Elgar, Canterbury, Whitehorse and Balwyn roads. 
10.32 Werribee/Williamstown lines: Major delays (a truck striking a bridge near Footscray). Trains may be held/altered.
15.47 Major delays clearing after a police action near Craigieburn. Trains may terminate/originate at Broadmeadows.
19.23 Werribee/Williamstown/Sunbury/Craigieburn/Upfield lines: Major delays (police in the North Melbourne area). Trains in the immediate area will remain at platforms. Stopping patterns may be changed.
- 19.39 clearing.  Trains may terminate/originate at intermediate stations.
Pakenham/Cranbourne lines: Buses replace trains Caulfield - Westall from 20.30 until the last train (works).
Buses replace trains North Melbourne - Craigieburn from 20.40 until the last train (maintenance works).
21.32 Belgrave line: Major delays  after police attended to a trespasser at Ferntree Gully. Trains may be altered.

New Caroline Springs train station may reach capacity on second day, mayor says Sat 28 Jan 2017
Caroline Springs train station will get its first real test on Monday morning.(ABC News: Jessica Longbottom)
The strain on infrastructure in Melbourne's booming outer west is in the spotlight once again, amid concerns its newest train station may reach capacity within 24 hours of opening.
VLine services at Caroline Springs will begin operating on Sunday, with trains every 30 minutes during peak hour through the week.
Melton Council's mayor said the station had been a long time coming, but the 350-space car park was expected to reach capacity on Monday morning.
"I think the car park will be full by about 7:30am," Sophie Ramsey said.
"City of Melton is a growth corridor, and we're going to have hundreds of thousands more people coming into this corridor."
But grassland home to a critically endangered shrub called spiny rice flower surrounds the station, making it difficult for the car park to expand.
It could be relocated, but that is extremely costly.
"I'd be looking at lobbying to get a high-rise car park," Cr Ramsey said.
V/Line to monitor passenger numbers as population increases
Native grassland around the station is protected, making expansion difficult.(ABC News: Jessica Longbottom)
Unlike many other stations, where drivers can park in the streets surrounding the station, Caroline Springs is isolated.
The only option is to travel to another station or go home and return on the bus.
V/Line acknowledged concerns the station may quickly reach capacity during peak times and said it would monitor patronage numbers.
"We think we're going to be OK," chief executive James Pinder said.
"People can be strange creatures sometimes and understanding their habits is not always easy ahead of time but we've done our homework.
"Originally it was going to be one platform, a single line. We've taken the opportunity to future-proof it as much as we can."
Trains will be 'chock-a-block' before reaching Caroline Springs
But despite capacity concerns, the long-awaited station has been welcomed by locals sick of travelling to congested stations such as Deer Park.
The station is also serviced by bus routes and has bicycle storage.
John and Heather Facciolo are worried they may not get a seat on the train.(ABC News)
"For Caroline Springs, it means they've finally got the station they've wanted for a very long time," Mr Pinder said.
Ambarish Harn said he was close enough to ride his bike and leave the car at home.
"I'll be using it from Monday; I've been looking forward to it for a long time. I'm glad it's finally here. I'm pretty fortunate I live nearby," he said.
"A lot of locals travel to nearby stations like Deer Park and Keilor Plains."
Heather Facciolo said the facilities looked good but she was concerned about capacity.
"They say the trains are full when they come from Melton, so I don't know how anybody will get a seat," Ms Facciolo said.
"Let's hope there's enough train space for us. We normally catch buses into the city, so we'll give it a try next week," said her husband, John.
"We'll catch the bus, we wouldn't bring the car here. I don't think it's big enough. [The others in the area] are all chock-a-block by 8:00am and this one looks smaller."

9.9.22 WanderBOX Outpost 35 Is A Massive Off-Road RV For Work Or Play.  Christopher Smith.  WanderBOX Outpost 35
25 Photos in Gallery© Motor1.com Copyright
WanderBOX Outpost 35  Motor1.com Copyright
It boasts a full-size kitchen with a washer and dryer, a bathroom, and a bedroom that converts to a large mobile office.
These days, off-road-capable camper vans are rather common. Finding a large RV capable of such adventure, however, isn't common at all. Enter WanderBOX, a Colorado-based company building the Outpost 35 – a Ford-based rig boasting all the amenities of home and work in a 4x4 package that can stay off-grid for weeks at a time. And at $399,000, it's less expensive than many similar-sized vehicles with off-road chops.
What exactly does one get for that price? The Outpost 35's list of standard equipment is long, with features like a built-in washer/dryer combo, a 17 cubic-foot refrigerator in a full-size kitchen, an outdoor kitchen, a full bathroom with a large shower, an electric awning, and multiple 42-inch televisions among many features.
WanderBOX Outpost 35 Living Room
WanderBOX Outpost 35 Interior Kitchen  Motor1.com
It's designed to sleep four people with beds located front and rear, but the rear bedroom also converts into a large mobile office with a massive desk and dual monitors built-in. Seven-foot ceilings offer spacious accommodations throughout, and a pass-through beneath the fold-out bar at the front offers access to the cab without going outside.
WanderBOX Outpost 35 Office Desk
WanderBOX Outpost 35 Bedroom
WanderBOX Outpost 35 Interior Motor1.com
A Ford F-600 regular cab truck serves as the foundation, riding on a 260-inch wheelbase with 41-inch off-road tires. It carries the hand-built living quarters, consisting of an aluminum honeycomb exoskeleton with composite panels and insulated walls for four-season capability. The beefy truck allows for plentiful water storage, including 200 gallons of fresh water, a 125-gallon gray tank, and 75-gallon black water tanks. The company is also working on a three-phase water filtration system with UV support to recycle onboard water, either stored in the fresh water tank or into an additional recycled water tank.
Off-Road RVs:
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Off-grid electricity is supplied by seven solar panels generating 2,800 watts combined. An alternator-based generator system is also included to supplement the solar if the 24 kWh lithium battery pack gets too low. Multiple color touchscreens are installed to control all the systems, and for occasions when the Outpost 35 is on the grid, a 50-amp shore power hookup is available. A 40,000-BTU diesel heating system, 30,000-BTU multi-zone air conditioning system, and Starlink satellite internet are also part of the package – all listed as standard equipment.
Speaking to Motor1.com, WanderBOX Head of Sales and Marketing Mike Bristol emphasized the practicality of the Outpost 35, not just as something capable of going off-grid, but staying there for a while. There's also some discussion at the company about offering the Outpost 35 for commercial applications, such as an emergency-access vehicle or mobile command and control center.
"Here's our objective: get you off pavement, get you into the country, and stay there for more than just a long weekend," he said. "Instead of just saying it's got a washer/dryer, it's got this, it's got that; this is why. If you want to get out there and stay out there, this is what you need."
WanderBOX Outpost 32 Renderings
WanderBOX Outpost 32 Renderings  Motor1.com
Right now, WanderBOX lists a delivery time of six to nine months from orders placed. For those seeking something a bit smaller, the company is working on an Outpost 32 model that includes the same features on a platform with a 227-inch wheelbase (pictured above). More information on that RV will be available soon.
Source: WanderBOX

New navy boss dismisses US submarine warning as a ‘bit of noise’.  Matthew Knott September 9, 2022.  57 comments
Australia’s new navy chief has swatted away a warning from a senior US Navy officer that Australia has little chance of securing nuclear submarines off American production lines, dismissing the highly publicised remarks as mere “noise”.
Vice Admiral Mark Hammond, who took over as Chief of Navy in July, also spoke bluntly about China’s highly unusual behaviour of shadowing Australian naval vessels as they pass through the South China Sea.
Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Mark Hammond; American Virginia Class submarine.CREDIT:
Rear Admiral Scott Pappano, the senior officer in charge of the US Navy’s nuclear submarine program, recently said helping Australia acquire nuclear-powered submarines directly from the US under the AUKUS agreement would likely be too much to ask of the country’s overburdened shipyards.
“If you are asking my opinion, if we were going to add additional submarine construction to our industrial base, that would be detrimental to us right now, without significant investment to provide additional capacity, capability, to go do that,” Pappano told the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies.
Pappano’s comments were widely interpreted as meaning that Australia would have to assemble all the nuclear submarines in Adelaide, with the delivery of the first boat not expected until the 2040s.
Asked about Pappano’s comments, Hammond told The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age: “My initial reaction was, ‘there’s another commentary’.
video: Royal Australian Navy sailors to train on UK nuclear-powered submarines.
“There’s been a lot of commentary ever since the [AUKUS] announcement about a year ago,” he said. “I would listen to whatever the President of the United States and [his] authorised spokespeople say on this because I think there’s going to be lots of different opinions.”
Hammond, who spent much of his Navy career as a submariner, added: “I always try to wait for the senior leadership to actually put a position forward. For me, it’s a bit in the noise.”
Following the Coalition’s election defeat, Opposition Leader Peter Dutton said he had been working on a plan as defence minister to purchase two ­Virginia-class submarines directly from the American production line to accelerate the arrival of nuclear-powered vessels to Australia by a decade.
Defence Minister Richard Marles said he will announce by March the model of nuclear submarine Australia will acquire under the AUKUS pact.
Asked about whether Australian naval vessels had encountered any difficulties in the increasingly contested South China Sea, Hammond said Australian ships had been transiting through the region for over a century.
“What has changed over the past few years is the behaviour of the Chinese forces in that region,” he said.
He said when Australian vessels pass through the area now there is routinely a vessel from China’s People’s Liberation Army within sight, “quite often following us around”.
“That’s unusual behaviour,” he said. “I don’t know another Navy that does that.
“It’s a departure from what we would call normal maritime behaviour, but it hasn’t stopped us from conducting our operations.”
Hammond said he was concerned about the possibility of a miscalculation between Australian and Chinese vessels at sea, but he was comforted by the fact China’s behaviour had not escalated to a “reckless” level.
Hammond was speaking ahead of a major multinational navy training exercise later this month off Darwin, known as Exercise Kakadu.
Some 3000 personnel from twenty-two nations – including Germany, India, Japan and the United Kingdom – will participate.
Hammond said it was a decision for government whether Chinese vessels participate in the exercises again, as they last did in 2018.
“If the political relationship returns to that position it was in 2018 then we may be in that space again,” he said. “I think there’s probably some distance to go before we’re in that space.”
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Transport data shows city workers embrace the long weekend.  Alex Crowe September 12 2022
Owner of Psychedeli Cafe, Kelly Wang, says cafes are quieter on Mondays and Fridays as people choose to work from home. Picture by Elesa Kurtz
ACT residents are relishing the right to stay home on Mondays and Fridays, working from home a preferred option at the start and end of the week, mobility data reveals. Office workers avoiding the Sunday scaries and getting away early for the weekend may explain the lull in foot traffic in Civic on specific days, which is impacting businesses across the city. Kelly Wang, owner of Psychedeli Cafe, said businesses that predominantly fed and caffeinated public servants were particularly affected. "Government will say, 'They can stay and work from home as long as they want', right? They don't care about us," she said. Bus and light rail data from the last financial year showed an average of around 36,000 people riding to work on Mondays, compared to around 42,000 on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Workers were a little more inclined to head to the office at the end of the week than the start, with 40,000 making the trip on Friday. While fluctuating, patronage of bus and light rail returned to approximately 70 per cent of pre-COVID levels during that period. Ben McHugh, deputy director-general at Transport Canberra, said evening and weekend users were coming back slightly quicker than morning and afternoon commuters. "I think that reflects the changes that the community are making in their decisions about where and how they work," Mr McHugh told a recent estimates hearing.  He said Mondays and Fridays were seeing lower overall trips, reflecting what many had witnessed in the workplace, with people choosing those days to work from home. Mobility data from DSpark, comparing the three months from May 2019 to the corresponding months in 2022, found around 88 per cent of workers had returned to Civic. Ms Wang said the city often felt like a ghost town on Mondays and small cafes around hers on Marcus Clarke Street had permanently shut down. "We have a lot of regular customers from this building supporting us, but it just feels kind of hopeless," she said. "I don't know how long it'll keep being like this." READ ALSO: Transport Canberra recently released a Transport Recovery Plan Refresh, part of a strategy to encourage people back on trams and buses post COVID-19. A new staff member has been hired to focus on customer experience, focusing on different profiles of potential public transport users and what it will take to get them out of their cars. "This will be even more important as major infrastructure works in and around the city get underway later this year - including Stage 2 of light rail to Woden," a government spokesperson said. "We also want to encourage Canberra's employers to be part of the solution by supporting more flexible working hours to help spread out the peaks. "Allowing staff to come in even half an hour earlier or later can make a big difference." The ACT government will lead by example by providing flexible arrangements for its own workforce as well as partnering with other major employers to help drive the shift, the spokesperson said. "Our goal is to get public transport patronage back to its pre-COVID levels and then keep growing it.  "Seeing more people choose public transport will be essential for managing congestion in the COVID recovery period and through the upcoming disruption associated with our major infrastructure builds which will have a further impact on traffic congestion and people's daily commutes."
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As Melbourne's west grows, poor bus services are forcing residents to rely on cars.  Margaret Paul.  Mon 12 Sep 2022
A man with a moustache, wearing a vest, stands with a bus stop in the background.
Iqbal Hossain would catch the bus if it were faster.(ABC News: Margaret Paul)
There is a bus stop right next to Iqbal Hossain's home in Hoppers Crossing, in Melbourne's outer south-west.
But he rarely uses it.
"Most of the time if anyone needs the bus they have to wait 40 to 50 minutes," he said.
If he does catch the bus four kilometres to the train station, it takes four times longer than if he were to drive — the trip is five minutes by car or 20 minutes on the bus.
"It goes around and around all the little streets before it gets to the station, and then I often miss the connecting train," he said.
He said that is why most people in the outer west avoid the bus system if they need to get somewhere on time.
A man steps onto a bus that says it is Laverton-bound.
Bus trips in the west are, on average, nearly twice as long as trips in the inner city. (ABC News: Margaret Paul)
It's why the commuter car park at the train station is full by 7am most mornings, and only 1.3 per cent of work trips in the west include travel by bus.
Researchers from the University of Melbourne have found it doesn't need to be that way.
How bad is the problem?
John Stone, a senior lecturer in transport planning at the University of Melbourne, said a population the size of Canberra is expected to be added to Melbourne's west in the next 15 years.
The traffic implications of that are obvious to anyone who has sat in a car on the West Gate Freeway, or heard the phrase "heavy on the Point Cook bend" on the traffic report.
A man wearing glasses sits next to a computer screen.
University of Melbourne's John Stone is part of a team examining public transport in the city's west.(ABC News: Chris Le Page)
"People in the west really need alternatives to driving," Dr Stone said.
"At the moment most people's bus service doesn't operate in the evening, it doesn't operate on Sundays, and even at peak hour might operate on 30- to 40-minute frequencies," he said.
The researchers found the average length of a trip on public transport in Wyndham was 71.4 minutes — almost double the average 37-minute trip in inner Melbourne.
Perhaps it should not come as a surprise then that more than double the proportion of households in Wyndham have three cars than in inner Melbourne — 18.3 per cent of households compared to 8.8 per cent.
That's something common across Melbourne's outer suburbs.
"For many people the cost of having the third, fourth car in the household is prohibitive, so we really do need better public transport," Dr Stone said.
What can be done?
Dr Stone's team wanted to see what would happen if they threw out the current bus system and started again — and they were surprised with the results.
A map showing the existing bus network in Melbourne's west.
The existing bus network in Melbourne's west.(Supplied: University of Melbourne)
Using computer modelling, they removed the 80 bus networks, which aim to stop within 400 metres of every home, snaking their way through suburban streets.
Instead, the researchers designed a grid-like system, with just 25 routes, operating along major roads, with stops within 800m of most homes.
A depiction of a proposed new bus network for Melbourne's west.
The researchers' alternative proposal for the bus network in the city's west.(Supplied: University of Melbourne)
"For the same resources we could give people huge improvements in accessibility — they could have 10-minute services all day, seven days a week," he said.
The trade-off is that people — like Iqbal Hossain — might have to walk a bit further to get to a bus stop.
At the moment, Public Transport Victoria aims to have a bus stop within 400m of every home.
"But a bus stop without a bus is not much use to you," Dr Stone said.
Residents call for urgently needed train stations in Melbourne's west
Six years ago Mohit Tyagi bought a block just minutes away from a proposed train station in Tarneit. Now he fears the station won't be built while he is living in the house with his wife and two young children.
Two men stand in front of a building selling land with the sign 'a life of convenience'
He said people were happy to walk up to 800m to catch trains, so the extra distance should not put them off.
"But what they'll be walking to is a 10-minute service running direct to the local activity centre or the local station, and they can connect to their communities, connect to jobs much more effectively," he said.
He said the plan includes a demand-driven community bus, for people with problems walking.
"We're thinking of a system that doesn't leave anyone behind," he said.
The computer modelling results show a big increase in the number of people who can catch the bus to where they need to go in 30 minutes.
For Hoppers Crossing, the number of people who could get to the train station within 30 minutes increased by 1155 per cent.
On Sundays, the number of people who could get to Highpoint Shopping Centre shot up by 200 per cent, and for Werribee Plaza it was 400 per cent.
He said the plan would be cost-neutral over time, but would involve additional investment to start with, about $30 to 40 million.
"That cost is really modest, it would involve bringing the west up to the standard of service that's available across Melbourne, in line with population growth," he said.
A sign for Hoppers Crossing Station.
It takes Iqbal Hossain 5 minutes to drive to Hoppers Crossing station, or 20 minutes by bus.(ABC News: Margaret Paul)
Back in Hoppers Crossing, Mr Hossain would love to see the plan put in place.
He is a school teacher at a local high school and said students were often running late because they rely on the bus to get to school.
"I believe within a few years' time we need better buses, including electric buses," he said.
The state government has been introducing electric buses to the roads in Melbourne's west — at a pace of about one a month over the next three years.
Earlier this year, Seymour became the first town in regional Victoria to boast an entirely electric fleet.
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Waiting for Metro: Train services promised for outer-west ‘nowhere in sight’.  Patrick Hatch September 12, 2022
The Victorian government is being urged to explain when it will deliver the Metro train services to Melbourne’s outer-west it promised four years ago amid concerns public transport investment is falling severely behind the skyrocketing population growth.
A month before his landslide 2018 state election victory, Premier Daniel Andrews pledged to bring electric Metro trains to Melton and Wyndham Vale and flagged possible new stations as part of a “Western Rail Plan”.
Commuters waiting to catch a V/Line train from Tarneit to the CBD on Friday morning. CREDIT:EDDIE JIM
But four years on, there is no construction funding nor a timeline for the upgrades, while residents in some of Australia’s fastest-growing suburbs rely on crowded and infrequent V/Line regional trains to travel to and from the CBD.
Melton mayor Goran Kesic said the council’s discussions with the government suggested upgrades to an electric Metro service were “not on the cards at the moment”.
“Four years after it being a headline election commitment, we are no closer to seeing it happen,” Kesic said. “In 20 years, we’ll be the size of Canberra – it is absolutely essential that the electrification of the Melton line is delivered in the very near future.”
Concern over the western rail upgrades comes amid debate over the government’s pledge to build an underground rail line from Cheltenham to Box Hill in the eastern suburbs.
Opposition Leader Matthew Guy has said if he wins the November state election, he will pause the $34.5 billion project, which would form the first section of the proposed Suburban Rail Loop, and redirect funds to health care. Transport experts have also warned that the loop could starve more urgent transport projects of funding.
Saqia Sarwat said she sometimes took an $80 Uber ride to her CBD office because of infrequent trains from her nearest station, in Tarneit. CREDIT:EDDIE JIM
Saqia Sarwat takes the train from Tarneit station – which opened in 2015, 23 kilometres from the city – to her Swanston Street office a few times a week, but the IT professional said infrequent V/Line services meant she sometimes resorted to an $80 Uber ride.
“Sometimes there are only three carriages (instead of six), so we’re squishing in, and some people cannot get in,” she said, while waiting 20 minutes for her rush-hour train on Friday morning. “The population is growing faster than the services here – we need more-frequent trains.”
City of Wyndham mayor Peter Maynard agreed that people in his area were already paying the high social cost of poor public transport access. Around 45 per cent of residents travel outside Wyndham for work including 22 per cent travelling to the CBD.
What is your experience of transport in the western suburbs?
We want to hear from people about how transport shape the lives of people in Melbourne’s west. Tell us how you get to work or school, and how it could be improved. Contact the reporter:patrick.hatch@...
“They spend a month a year in their car – it’s a lot of stress on people. The longer we wait it just compounds the issues we face,” he said. Maynard called for the government to commit to a timeline for the Metro upgrade and construction of four new stations earmarked in his area.
An Andrews government spokeswoman could not provide a timeline for the Wyndham and Melton upgrades, nor say when it would complete Western Rail Plan design work backed by $130 million of state and federal funding.
She said the first steps were to upgrade some V/Line trains from six cars to nine – which had started rolling out – and plan the Geelong Fast Rail project. That involved moving trains onto the Werribee line, “directly creating additional capacity and extra services for Melton and Wyndham Vale”.
“We’re delivering the projects we promised – supporting thousands of jobs and delivering more trains, more often,” the spokeswoman said.
A government press release in October 2018 announced the proposed Metro services as part of several projects, including fast trains for Geelong and Ballarat. “Work on the full business case for this overhaul will begin in 2019 in conjunction with the business cases for the Suburban Rail Loop and Airport Rail Link, which only Labor will deliver.” the release said. “The separation of regional and metro services has to occur before fast trains can be delivered, and the full plan is expected to take around a decade to complete.”
John Hearsch, from the Rail Futures Institute, a transport advocacy and research group, said the decision in 2018 to run Melbourne Airport Rail Line trains along shared Metro tracks to Sunshine as part of the new Metro Tunnel project, rather than on a dedicated track, had effectively killed off upgrades to Melton and Wyndham.
“They’ve halved the potential capacity from the Melbourne Metro – that’s the real reason why they’re not going to get an electric train service any time soon,” he said.
Another pair of tracks from the CBD was needed to deliver more trains to the west, Hearsch said, which was why Victoria should prioritise the long-slated Melbourne Metro 2.
Opposition transport spokesman Matt Bach said that unlike the government’s flagship Suburban Rail Loop, the Western Rail Plan was “supported by experts, and stacks up”.
“It’s a really important project, which should finally be progressed,” Bach said. “Residents in Melbourne’s west have been dudded on infrastructure for so long.”
Tarneit and Wyndham Vale quickly became the busiest stations on the V/Line network when they opened in 2015. Tarneit’s population jumped 70 per cent – from 33,600 to 57,453 – in the following five years and is projected to more than double to 131,161 over the next 20 years.
Driven by large-scale housing development, the cities of Wyndham and Melton grew 70 per cent in the decade to 2021 to reach a combined population of almost 480,000. The population of Canberra is 454,000. The two councils predict their combined population will surge to a million by mid-century.
RELATED ARTICLE The government says building the eastern section of the loop would still be worthwhile Suburban Rail Loop’s first section could stand alone, Allan says
* I find it unbelievable that the Andrews government have done absolutely nothing for the West yet have already started building the SRL that has no case other than Andrews saying it's good. It's not good it's a gross waste of money whilst Regional & West communities have been dudded, Geelong commuters want their original train line back & for the track through Wyndham to have it's own metro service, it's a "no brainer".
* Much of the fault lies with the artificial split into Metro and VLine, then PTV's reluctance to make the two coexist and to provide frequent services. There were two pull-push diesel trains, ideal for running Wyndham Vale services at suburban frequencies (there was enough equipment for more). PTV withdrew them as 'not needed'.
* Stooged is what the West have been. Loyal, but STOOGED. Time to oust this Government and elect anyone else. Shame the Drover's Dog ins't running.
* The Wyndham Council population alone has increased by 20% in the last 4 years (term of the current Andrews Government). Crap delivery of services to the West by the Andrews Government whilst pork-barrelling marginal electorates in the East on the never-never.
* Andrews has to go...he is a liar, incompetent and cares ZERO ABOUT THE WEST...
* Interesting that Treasurer Pallas whose parliamentary seat is based on Werribee has not facilitated enhanced public transport for the West. Mostly he has pushed for bigger roads. Though he should know by now enhanced toll roads will never accommodate the potential peak hour flows efficiently. Both Geelong and Ballarat peak traffic can only be managed by top grade commuter rail services. The huge expanding suburbs of western urban Melbourne require electrification to Melton and Wyndham Vale plus Tarneit. This is needed to enable frequent Metro services, so Geelong and Ballarat services can be speeded up, and sufficient Metro capacity is provided as well. These projects were promised by the Andrews government years ago and should have far higher priority than the Melbourne Loop rail line starting in the south-east where public transport is quite good (by Melbourne standards!).
* Dan would rather spend billions that we haven't got on his white elephant SRL project. More marginal seats on the east side of town.
* Matthew Guy must be the first Australian MP to promise his constituents (Doncaster) that if elected he will ensure that they never get a train service of any sort.
* If the Liberals were smart they could win a tonne of votes in the West just by providing the infrastructure and public transport required. The number of people moving into the area requires immediate improvements across the board - from fixing the Calder to electrifying tracks, building more stations on the Airport Link... building the Airport Link... where is that at Andrews? The East has plenty Mr Guy, time to focus on the areas where you can make and impact and win some votes.
* The problem is ... we wouldn't believe any promises they made. We KNOW that the ALP are waaaay more committed to improving our public transport than the Libs.
* "If the Liberals were smart..." There's the problem right there. They're not smart, and they don't really believe in public infrastructure. Unfortunately, Labor only seems to see it as a mechanism for providing union jobs for their CFMMEU mates.
* So typical of Labor. During the Federal Election Albanese's answer to almost every tricky question on policy was, "we have a plan for that". So far not a single plan has emerged and on the issue of jobs, he had to gather the unions and some employers to try and give them a clue. Sadly, for the people in the outer west of Melbourne, your promised railway under Dan's leadership is running from Cheltenham to Box Hill. Aren't you glad your trusted and voted for him!
* I note that this article doesn't mention the cause of the problem - the opening up of new development areas without an obligation to provide infrastructure. If an area is opened up for development, no building should be permitted until appropriate infrastructure (shops, schools, medical services and public transport) have been set up. Until this is mandated by law, we will continue with a spiral of people move to the outer suburbs for affordable accommodation - people do not have access to services - people complain - state and local governments pick up a huge tab to deploy the services - area becomes desirable and expensive - rinse and repeat.
* That's great for the future, but how about now?
* "...the opening up of new development areas without an obligation to provide infrastructure." - this falls squarely on the state government who, as part of allowing new developments should not allow the development to proceed without the necessary infrastructure being part of the development, paid for in part by the developers, not as an afterthought to be totally paid for by the taxpayer. Developers simply walk away.
* Developers pay a "Developer Contribution", which includes providing local roads and sporting facilities, and partial cost of other facility upgrades. As for such infrastructure being an "afterthought to be totally paid for by the taxpayer", how do you think the infrastructure within the previous city limits was all paid for? It's all funded by public money, some of which might just happen to have been collected from taxes.
* Don't want to mention the elephant in the room but why wasn't this thought about and implemented before the housing estates created. Don't have to be smart to work out that the thousands of extra houses will outpace the previous infrastructure. Surely there should be a 'future fund' from the sale of these lots and estates that should have been earmarked for this very issue. Even the councils - who have got greater income as a result of their population increase - should be planning and contributing to the plan. Seems like poor planning from everyone involved
* Dan has no plan. Only words.
* For all those correspondents criticizing the Andrews Government, and promoting Matthew Guy, just remember he is a one man band. The Opposition has very little intellectual depth, skill-sets or practical experience and that is unlikely to change if the current crop of Liberal candidates is successful. Just the usual bunch of party hacks with little of merit to offer in Parliament.
* That pretty much sums up the four replacement Ministers that have come into the ALP Government since the mass resignation a few weeks ago!
* Both major parties are unfit to govern. We need more independents (Teal or otherwise) and minor parties. Dan must not be allowed to govern in his own right.
* But WAIT what about the new Tarneit to Deer Park line built by the Andrews govt?
* But the trains are from Geelong, by the time at Tarneit the train is like a packed tuna can in the morning.
* adding time and more crowding to an already overcrowded service...
* Daniel is busy for this year promises. He has no time for the old one.
* Not only is the west not sufficiently serviced with trains, we still run diesel trains to Geelong. Why isn't all of our V Line train network running on electricity. Look at Europe, the majority of the train system is electrified. So before the govt spend billions on a rail loop, how about electrify the current system. Start with Geelong, then to Albury to start the fast train to Sydney. Then to Ballarat, Bendigo, Gippsland.
* Cost too much $$$, all the power line above head need to be installed, new substaions need to be built alone the rail corridor and hundreds kms of new power conduits need to be layed. Given currently it's only 20 mins service interval the busiest line, it's not worth the cost to do it.
* Yet it's no further than Pakenham and a lot cheaper that the rail loop proposal.
* It's an electric, double decker train all the way from Central (Sydney) to the top of the Blue Mountains to Mt Victoria. It can be done actually...
* Rowville Rail was promised over 50 years ago. Feasibility studies have been done and deemed that heavy rail was justified. Huge population out this way as well. Successive governments bring it up at election time and then nothing happens. We are all still waiting.
* We were also promised 10 minute off-peak frequency on the Sunbury line once the Regional Rail Link was up and running. No sign of that either. It's ridiculous that the frequency of the current timetable is more or less the same as it was half a century ago while the population of Melbourne has more than doubled.
* Labour doesn't really care about the west. More worried about marginal seats in the southeast. WHy else spend a ton of money on a train line for demand that might turn up in 50 years rather than transport to meet demand now.
* Vline and Metro need to run on separated tracks in order to scale and meet demand
* Which they would have had the libs not made cuts to the project
* No votes in it. High speed regional trains that slow to a crawl when reach metro Melbourne, sitting behind Metro trains.
* Geez the libs are top class whingers. They never do anything when they are in govt so who cares what they say?
* No it's the people of the West having a legitimate whinge.
* The outer Western suburbs (Tarneit, Taylors Lakes, Wyndham Vale, Rockbank) are a transport nightmare which was allowed to occur over many years. Gridlocked narrow streets full of parked cars, infrequent unreliable trains and buses and station carparks full before the sun comes up. This is both a public policy failure and a gross breach of the social licence afforded to property developers. People living in these areas will forever be disadvantaged by the profound disconnect from the rest of the city. Meanwhile the well resourced legacy suburbs get more trains and tunnels widening the socio-economic gap. Given Labor has been in power for much of the last 20-odd years, I would say that they are to blame for the policy and planning failures for suburbs that have consistently placed their trust I them to deliver.
* Yes. A combination of developers milking the area for the maximum profit - small blocks and narrow roads so more blocks can be sold, and government delivering infrastructure after it is required. Both parties fail on planning for the future. They are only interested in winning elections and having power.
* why is anyone surprised? Daniel Andrews is the king of the high vis press conference. He is also the King of budget blowouts, spin, false narrative and managing for the election not the long term. I am stunned anyone is surprised. Belgrave residents in the outer East were promised a new car park at the station years ago. https://www.jamesmerlino.com.au/media-releases/belgrave-locals-invited-to-drop-in-session-on-new-car-park/ Finally got started March this year . . . . .they are probably in a hurry to get it finished for the election, hoping we'll all forget how overdue it is.
* Labor screwing over their safest seats and most dedicated supporters? Surely not!
* You will find that these proposals WILL be done during the next term of the Andrews govt!
* Typical Andrews government. Lots of High Vis, lots of "announceables" lots of spin. Very little actually delivered after 8 years apart from the way over budget railway crossing removals.
* And lots of massive infrastructure projects like the 60 level crossings removed and many new modern train stations built plus ALL the many other major projects like new hospitals, roads and new schools being built ATM?
* All well and good to have lots of sexy new hi-viz opportunities but what about maintenance. Potholed country roads cause lots of damage to vehicles. Is the asbestos removal from schools complete yet?
* Maybe if the liberals hadn't made cuts to the project it would already be working better
* Promises from Andrews at the 2018 election.
* To hear the Liberals bleating about this reminds me of how they decimated public transport over decades while in government. They actually don't care about anything other than getting power for their mob. That said, Labor's transport planning, while in some ways visionary in a way not seen since the 19th century, seems to be somewhat piecemeal and incredibly costly. Surely an above ground circular transport system could have been considered instead of this hugely expensive underground folly. Frequent fast articulated trams running a limited stopping service in their own right of way would be more flexible and frequent, much cheaper, and able to blend into the existing radial network of tramways if needed. The airport link could have used an existing freight-only line with extra tracks laid in the existing corridor, and at the terminal end, and those western suburbs electric services could have been achieved by laying extra tracks alongside the new country lines into the CBD. I reckon the lot would have come in costing less that the whizzbang circular tunnel lines while achieving much more for the public.
* WHERE would you put an above groud system? You'd have to demolish houses or businesses. Can't imagine too many would be happy about that
* This government likes Skyrail so extend it to other areas and this government has acquired houses, parkland and businesses for their current road projects.
* An elevated rail would be cheaper than underground, and elevated rail could even run above roads in parts. But the Andrews Govt has not even looked at alternatives.
* It wouldn't be as bad if the government stopped approving all the new housing estates, how much extra stamp duty is the government receiving from the population growth in the West vs how much is spent on essential services in the West???!!!
* So what do YOU suggest let tens of thousand of people go homeless?
* the government cannot blame anyone else but themselves for this mess. They approve the new housing estates without planning for essential services, grab the extra stamp duty that SHOULD be spent on essential services in these areas but they are not
* Maybe repurpose some of the vacant high rise for a start.
* The Labor party will do nothing for the west and north of Melbourne while they are safe Labor areas. And the Libs can't be bothered. Unless you belong to a marginal seat, you'll be waiting a long time before anything improves.
* No offence to those from Wyndham Vale and especially Tarneit, but the train i catch n the morning from Geelong runs express past your two stations. The number of people getting on at Tarneit is out of control. A half full train quickly becomes overflowing. Yes there are trains that start/stop at Wyndham Vale, but there is no doubt they need their own electrified line sooner rather than later. I also see a car park extension is being built at Tarneit. Will be full up from Day 1...
* The suburban line to Melton should have been electrified years ago. As should the line from Sunshine to the Airport. Finally, the circular line should have started from Werribee and gone clockwise. But not enough marginal electorates to pander to out here. Maybe after the Nov election there will be? Let's hope.
* I have been told the people of Melton don't want an electric train service as they think as it would lead to anti social behavior and violence!
* Melton wants regular, metro services. See the Council campaigns over many years. And buses that actually meet trains and run more than hourly (or half hourly). And even one level crossing removal would not go astray...
* Not to worry the LNP will build a shiny new toll road in ten years time.
* Except the last toll road built (Eastlink) was a decision of the ALP. And the North East toll road is an ALP decision. And the Westgate tunnel involved increasing the toll period on existing toll roads.
* The LNP want to poor all the money into health, some is necessary. But at the cost of future rail projects. No forward thinking just what might get elected now.
* Did they say all?
* We need better interconnections. Why can't metro be extened to serve wyndham vale? Vline is often not reliable. Real estate is being sold citing proposed new station to come here but no action after years and years. Western suburbs always treated like poor cousins of the East. Don't know why
* Count yourself lucky. Tell that to Rowville residents who have been 'promised' a rail line but haven't got one for years and people wonder why the roads in the area are so busy.
* But, but, but didn’t the LNP tell us years ago that roads were the way to go. That’s why the LNP have never invested in rail transport, we don’t need it.
* So you're saying it's the LNP's fault that the Labor government hasn't followed through on their own election promise?
* I’m just saying the LNP are less likely to keep their promise. Labor’s may take awhile to happen but they’re at least they’re committed to public transport.
* I'm one of the tree-changers who, mid-pandemic, moved from Melbourne to the Hepburn Shire. 25 years ago, I spent a few years in the same region and occasionally commuted to Melbourne for work during the week, same as now. The traffic around Rockbank/Melton is absolutely chronic these days, especially on the way back between 4-6 pm - it's like a parking lot, it can take up to an hour to get through that 10 km area. Shocking, still can't quite believe it. I've taken to going through Woodend along the Calder, much better even though a little bit longer distance-wise.
* Western freeway needs a third lane out to Melton but doubt it's on anyone's radar...
* There is a Train station at Rockbank!
* Which has nothing to do with the traffic on the Western "Freeway" - a two lane road totally insufficient for the surrounding suburbs, let alone the regional traffic going through the area. The townships of Hepburn Springs are not on a train line, so even less relevant to point out that Rockbank has a train station ..
* Make the seats marginal, then they (the ALP) might be forced to listen to you. But don't expect the LNP to do ANYTHING. They just don't care about Public Transport. Never have, and never will.
* "Never have"? Have you forgotten which party built the City Loop?
* And that was about the last useful thing they did.
* Would this be better? "The LNP haven't done ANYTHING in regards Public Transport in over half a century."?? Still not great, eh??
* Stop voting for the major parties!! They are both useless.
* the south west are generally considered safe seats. the needs of the south west have and seem will continue to be ignored by both labour and liberal
* All the money has gone into level crossing removals - the poor train passengers shuffle from train to bus to train while car drivers benefit - the level crossings were in a way an incentive for car drivers to use trains but it’s now the other way around - although it just causes a bottleneck at the next intersection no doubt - no new train lines but billions spent basically for the road network- not to mention the money spent so far investigating the SRL which is a dud of a project
* I’m glad someone sees the crossing removal project as nothing more than a suburban road improvement project, obscene amounts of money spent to shave a few minutes off a car trip.
* You might argue that the new Westgate tunnel and the loop project is chewing up the cash, and you cannot argue "all" the money has gone to level crossing removals when you can see these other expensive projects underway. Level crossing removal is productive policy.
* Yes, but it doesn't benefit the rail user. It's again focused on the road users.
* Yes it does benefit train users as there have been numerous NEW stations built as part of the Level Crossing Removal project! I drove along Beach Road to Frankston recently and there a many brand new modern stations on that line replacing the old decrepit ones that were there before!
* That’s true but I think point being made here is that level crossing removal doesn’t equate to more or better service frequency. Fantastic to have a new station, but it means not much if there are no additional trains.
* Really - how many times may I ask have you been shuffled from train to bus to train in all weather adding lots of time to your trip for no benefit
* Does this sound like he wants to cancel it? Opposition transport spokesman Matt Bach said that unlike the government’s flagship Suburban Rail Loop, the Western Rail Plan was “supported by experts, and stacks up”.
* Of course he will Liberals do not care about rail. Never have. Never will
* Don’t worry, increasing immigration will soon make the situation much worse. Perhaps we need to step back and ask a much bigger question when it comes to public infrastructure, such as where will the funding come from? Are we already living beyond our means as a country? Should we be really during decentralisation of Melbourne?
* The PR department of Dan runs the infrastructure development agenda. The West are firmly Labor and won’t change. Dans PR team will direct projects that are marginal that he can win if he pork vbarrels them.
* I built a house in Melton in1975 when there was promises of electrification of the train line. Western Suburbs have never been a priority for any government.
* And yet I still get these glossy brochures from Tim Pallas (who doesn't even live in the electorate)...
* Maybe the Belt and Road initiative was going to fund some of the infrastructure projects the federal government wouldn’t fund?
* That’s why I moved from the West to East. The services in the West are terrible! It’s a safe seat for Labour they don’t need to win votes there so the West loses out every time it’s ridiculous.
* No trains from Dan....but wow, the facebook post announcing it was sure pretty slick. Much-needed, proper infrastructure is ignored while Dan moves onto the next silly vanity project the Department of Dan has cooked up. These people deserve better, the State deserves better.
* Daniel Andrew’s has betrayed the west as has every Labor government in history. He can find 11bn for a rail loop in box hill but can’t fix the falling apart trains of melton. The fastest growing part of the west. You need to live in a marginal electorate for dan to see you.
* Try $50bn
* The extension to the Cranbourne line to Clyde also promised - massive housing development yet not done - promises, promises
* They're getting the Suburban Rail Loop in 50 years time. What else do these privileged people expect?
* Tarneit and Wyndham Vale quickly became the busiest stations on the V/Line network when they opened in 2015. What an improvement that was for the people's from Little River and further south. Turned an arguably good idea into a decidedly bad one. Had they only built these stations with sidings to the platforms so "regional" trains could run express. Clearly the additional cost of doing that at Deer Park as well, was too expensive on top of building the line, stations, and carparking (what about 5% more budget?) . Not at all badly planned was it!!
* EXACTLY. The whole idea of by passing Werribee was to bypass the delays of metro trains for Geelong commuters. Yet here we are, absorbing metro passengers onto the line, crowding regional passengers. I caught the train before I got a job down in Geelong and had to stand for an hour heavily pregnant due to the increase in metropolitan passengers. I could get a seat once they disembarked at Wyndham. All this additional time has also added to the Geelong commute as well. I've had enough of the Geelong line being a stop gap. The government better create designated metro lines for Wyndham Vale and Tarneit. Heaven knows they haven't planned for them!! Otherwise we know we will be stuck with metro train delays on the Geelong line - again!
* MM2 needs to be built and the Geelong Train run straight into the city on that. If ever there should be a fast train between two cities this is it. Geelong should be 30 mins maximum.
* And, the original promise for the rerouted Vline services west of Werribee was that these services would not pickup/set down suburban passengers. That promise was broken before the services even launched. As a result a Geelong train potentially stops at more Suburban stations than regional ones...
* Dan will promise it again in a few weeks.
* People of the regional areas of Victoria have been deceived by this government. We were promised of we travelled via Sunshine on a new regional rail corridor, we'd find better services, more frequent and more reliable. Don't worry about your future trail loop plans Dan, fix what you promised. As soon as traffic returns to anything like the pre-pandemic norm, we'll be seeing the 2 hour plus battle for seating struggle we had before. 2 hours from Waurn Ponds, Marshall, or South Geelong. We were promised 32 minutes from Geelong at the prior election to the last one. Sort yourself and our commuting nightmare out and commit to doing so. I won't be voting Labor until it's improved.
* Blame the liberals. They made major cuts to the project. It was supposed to have 4 tracks
* We’ve experienced a Pandemic for the last three years. How would a headline ‘Taxes to double to pay for all the new commitments’ go down with you
* Or, we could see a headline "Dan says he won't build the $50b Stage 1 Rail Loop".
* A big part of the answer must be flexible and remote work rather than the obsession with shoving people together into the CBD each day.
* So employers need to facilitate the lack of infrastructure in the area?
* It’s all about the announcements with Andrews which clearly works if he still favourite to win. Another trick as pointed out by Neil Mitchell is re-announcing projects that have already been announced months earlier.
* And the people will just blindly vote him back in again. But I do realise the alternate major party is just as useless. Just don’t get sick in Victoria or need to get anywhere (trains or roads) for the next decade.
* Yes he can. Much, much worse than even ScoMo.
* Wasn't it Scott Morrison who made an art of announcements and re-announcements while never doiung anything? How can you view Neil Mitchell as a reliable source of information about anything? You should turn your radio dial to 774. Rather than pro-Liberal propaganda you will get some balance, examining both Labor's shortcomings and the opposition's.
* The West has been comprehensively ignored by both sides of politics for years. Instead of providing basic, and much needed, infrastructure in the West, we get given East-centric projects for which there is no business case, like E-W link from the LNP and Suburban Rail Loop from the ALP. It seems to me more people in the West need to start voting strategically to ensure they are always marginal and are therefore always getting pork barrelled.

‘Tragic loss at sea’: family and friends grieve victims of Kaikōura boat disaster.  Eva Corlett in Wellington Mon 12 Sep 2022
Five people who died when boat capsized on Saturday were members of the Nature Photography Society of New Zealand
An amazing dad. A talented nature photographer. A cherished wife.
Family and friends grieving the loss of five people who died in a boating accident at a popular New Zealand whale-watching destination have described some of the victims as loving and community-minded and said their deaths will leave a gaping hole.
Eleven people were aboard the 8.5-metre boat when it capsized on Saturday morning in Goose Bay near the South Island town of Kaikōura. Six people were rescued and five bodies were recovered from inside the vessel by police divers.
The group were members of the Nature Photography Society of New Zealand who had chartered the boat for three hours to take photographs of birds. In a statement the society’s vice-president, Richard Hensby, said the community was “saddened by the tragic loss at sea”.
“Our thoughts are with the families of those members of the society who have lost their lives,” Hensby said, adding that the society would not comment further until the investigations into what caused the vessel to capsize were complete.
The Transport Accident Investigation Commission has launched an investigation, alongside other agencies, and has appealed for witnesses who saw the accident unfold.
Early reports suggested a whale had collided with the boat and the waters had been calm at the time of the accident. Police had said there was a collision but they were yet to ascertain its cause.
Kaikōura is a popular whale-watching destination. The seafloor drops away precipitously from the coast, making for deep waters close to the shore. A number of businesses offer boat trips or helicopter rides so tourists can see whales, dolphins and other sea creatures up close.
Two rescue boats approach the upturned charter boat on Saturday. Photograph: AP
Police are yet to release the names of the five people who died but some family and friends have confirmed their identities to media.
Celia Wade-Brown, the former mayor of Wellington, knew one of the victims, Susan Cade, for roughly 10 years through the Wellington Sea Kayaking Network.
“She was very community-minded … and she didn’t just participate, she helped in the organisation on various activities as well.”
Wade-Brown said Cade was also a dancer and a talented nature photographer whose death has shocked the wider kayaking community.
The kayaking network will hold a moment of silence to remember her at their next event on Saturday.
Peter Simpson, the husband of another victim, Cathye Haddock, said he felt as if he had been “hit by a truck” following news of her death.
“She was very much a people person and well, I could accuse her of having too many friends if there is such a thing to have,” he told the AM show on Monday morning.
“She just had time for everybody and managed to fit everybody into her world. I just don’t know how she did it.”
Simpson said Haddock, who was from Wellington and worked at the Ministry of Education, loved the outdoors and had recently joined the photography society to go birdwatching with Cade. He said he had questions about how the accident happened but was satisfied to let the investigation process play out.
Haddock has been described as a true friend to Kahungunu ki Wairapara (the southern group of the Ngāti Kahungunu iwi) for her work promoting te reo Māori and developing an education plan with the iwi.
“She was such an awesome woman who would bend over backwards for the iwi – whatever we needed, she was always there for us,” iwi member PJ Devonshire told the Guardian.
Haddock was Pākehā (New Zealand European) but was “really passionate about te reo Māori, about the people, the culture and helping [the iwi] meet its aspirations”, Devonshire said. “We will remember Cathye … she was a wonderful woman.”
Another victim, Christchurch man Peter Charles Hockley, has been described by his daughter, who wished to remain anonymous, as an “amazing dad” and kind-hearted man who was an avid photographer.
Her father loved spending time at his Otematata beach house in Otago and would take many photos in the area, she told Stuff. “It was his life.”
The Otematata Residents’ Association also paid tribute to Hockley, who had donated his time to taking photographs for an annual fundraising calendar.
“He was a very quiet man … very humble. It’s so sad for us,” its chairperson, Steve Dalley, said.

Rail commuters left sidelined in western suburbs The Age's view September 12, 2022
Looking back on it, the well-received Andrews government pledge in 2018 to improve train services to Melbourne’s western suburbs and beyond was a little thin on detail.
The announcement’s rhetoric was impressive, identifying as it did a strong business case for the project, one of several mega-buck infrastructure developments promised in the lead-up to the last election.
Albion station in Sunshine.CREDIT:WAYNE TAYLOR
“The growth of Melbourne’s western suburbs, and the popularity of Geelong and Ballarat as commuter hubs, means our network needs more than just an upgrade: it needs redrawing,” the release said, just a month out from Daniel Andrews’ landslide election victory.
The centrepiece was to be two new electrified metro lines, to Melton and Wyndham Vale, to relieve pressure on often-overcrowded V-Line services. So far, so necessary. But then things got a little woolly.
The Wyndham Vale line could “potentially” become part of the Suburban Rail Loop. Additional tracks between Sunshine and the CBD would “most likely” run through a new tunnel integrated with the airport rail link. There would be “possible new stations”. A “major overhaul” of the express Geelong and Ballarat lines would include the “potential” full electrification of these lines.
The Victorian government’s planned Suburban Rail Loop.CREDIT:THE AGE
And when exactly would these improvements be completed, with people commuting to the city on fast, reliable, comfortable Metro trains? Here it got really vague. The “full plan” was “expected” to take “around” a decade. It had more get-out clauses than a Hollywood prenup.
When you looked closely, the announcement committed to spending only “an extra” $100 million “to complete all the planning we need to get it done”. It’s reasonable that the government couldn’t necessarily guarantee back then how the various elements would interlock with the other big projects in play, such as the airport rail link, the Suburban Rail Loop and the Metro tunnel network.
Some minor works have begun: the first stage of improving the Geelong line, an express track between Werribee and Laverton, is under way. And in 2019 the government announced it was “keeping its promise and getting on with the vital planning”.
Yet three years later, as transport reporter Patrick Hatch wrote on Monday, there has been no overall construction funding announced, nor a timeline for the upgrades. The mayor of Melton, Goran Kesic, told The Age his council’s discussions with the government suggest upgrades to an electric Metro service are “not on the cards at the moment”.
While residents in the west pack into often crowded V-Line trains, with apparently little prospect of relief, it’s full steam ahead on the Metro tunnel, with new underground stations for Melbourne’s already well-served inner suburbs. The Andrews government, meanwhile, has just committed to building the first stage of the Suburban Rail Loop, initially to make life easier for those living in Melbourne’s leafy south-east.
Works expected to cost north of $35 billion would first connect Cheltenham to a new station at Monash University and then Box Hill, though if governments some time in the far-distant future commit to more funding, the loop will snake its way through Doncaster and across the northern suburbs before, many decades hence, heading out to service the west. An investment case released last year showed the sections of the line in the east and north-east would not be completed until 2053; by the time it reaches the western suburbs, most of today’s commuters will be long retired.
The loop may well be a wonderful idea in principle. It’s certainly the kind of prestigious, once-in-a-generation legacy item that governments love to champion. Electrifying the Wyndham Vale line may seem dull in contrast. But like the government’s similarly prosaic level crossing removal program, for which it deserves due credit, it’s the kind of savvy spending that makes an outsized difference to people’s lives.
Those residents in the west, meanwhile, who face an increasingly trying commute as the population grows, are surely entitled to wonder when a state government will pay them more than lip service.
RELATED ARTICLE Commuters waiting to catch a V/Line train from Tarneit to the CBD on Friday morning.  Waiting for Metro: Train services promised for outer-west ‘nowhere in sight’

Airfares skyrocket: AFL fans face pie-in-the-sky prices for interstate finals.  Marta Pascual Juanola, Jordan McCarthy and Rachael Dexter September 12, 2022
Airlines have responded to demand from AFL fans for extra flights to Melbourne and Sydney this week after ticket prices skyrocketed ahead of Collingwood’s clash with the Swans at the SCG on Saturday.
Qantas, which has the same chairman as the AFL in Richard Goyder, added additional flights to their schedule late Monday afternoon after one-way Melbourne-to-Sydney fares were selling for between $700 and $900 on Monday morning.
Collingwood fans wanting to watch the preliminary final at the SCG in Sydney on Saturday have paid unusually high prices for flights.CREDIT:GETTY IMAGES
The airline appeared to have sold out of seats by 11am Monday for flights before Saturday, although seats using points were still showing as available.
At 4pm, the airline added additional services, with fares starting at $230, but the cheapest seats were soon sold out. At 4.30pm, the cheapest airfares available were with Jetstar: $534 from Melbourne to Sydney on Saturday and $279 returning on Sunday.
The price of tickets from Brisbane to Melbourne also soared before the Lions take on Geelong at the MCG on Friday. Queenslanders wanting to attend the game could pay up to $922 to fly into Melbourne on Qantas. Those choosing to travel with Virgin faced fares between $510 and $760.
The AFL also pushed for Virgin to provide more flights, with the hope that extra flights would lower prices for fans who faced huge increases in fares due to demand and the airlines’ “dynamic pricing”.
The games coincide with the start of the Victorian school holidays, which often leads to a surge in pricing as families travel interstate and overseas. But on Monday morning comparable flights on the other weekends of the school holidays were not even half the cost of Saturday’s fares.
Fans desperate to attend Saturday’s preliminary AFL final between the Sydney Swans and Collingwood at the SCG will have to wait until Thursday for any extra tickets to become available after the clash sold out on Monday.
Collingwood and Sydney members snapped up all 28,000 of the tickets they had been allocated for the game, which is expected to attract at least 46,000. The remaining tickets go to SCG Trust members - the equivalent to MCC members - to club staffers and sponsors in their internal allocations and AFL internals.
The Magpies and Swans had 14,000 each, ensuring that Collingwood will have a large contingent travelling to the game, whether by plane, train or car.
Tickets to both preliminary finals went on sale on Monday morning, first to club members at 10am, then to AFL members at noon, and later to the general public at 3pm. By 3.39pm, the AFL tweeted that tickets had been exhausted.
“Should further tickets become available, they will be released via Ticketek on Thursday, September 15 at 11am AEST,” the tweet read.
Collingwood supporter Lisa Gray said she had already planned to be in Sydney for the holidays and the possibility of seeing the Pies play in Sydney was “the cream on the cake”.
“We were lucky enough to get two tickets,” she said.
“But as a family of four, we now have the difficult task of deciding who gets to go. The kids think we should put the adults in one hat and them in the other and draw one from each. I’m inclined to roll with paper scissors rock.”
A Qantas spokesman said Lions and Collingwood fans had rushed to book flights to Melbourne and Sydney ahead of their respective games at the weekend, and the cheapest fares always sell out first.
A spokesperson for Virgin Australia explained airfares booked at short notice were generally more costly. It’s understood the airline is also looking to add flights before the weekend’s matches.
“Fares booked very close to departure dates and times tend to be higher than the average fare, in line with the reduced number of available seats,” the spokesperson said.
“Where possible, we always encourage our customers to book early to secure the best price and consistently offer highly competitive fares for travellers.”
Collingwood ruckman Mason Cox was among those criticising the “absurd” prices online.
“Between cancelled flights, delays and absurd prices for flights to Sydney now airline companies doing no favours for getting the trust of the public back,” Cox wrote on Twitter.
The AFL Fans Association urged the airlines to put extra flights on and force prices down.
“We hope the airlines can put on some more flights at reasonable prices to get as many Collingwood or Sydney fans up there,” the association’s spokesman Ron Issko said.
“We [Victorian-based footy fans] couldn’t go in 2020 or 2021; we could only go to some games, but we didn’t see any finals. So, the fans are desperate to see their teams play in finals.”
video Collingwood accused of "over celebrating" Kane Cornes has accused Collingwood of "over-celebrating" following the Magpies win over the Demons.
Issko said he heard some fans were getting creative in their efforts to fashion an affordable trip to Sydney this weekend, such as booking flights from Melbourne to Canberra and then a bus to Sydney.
Tasmanian Collingwood supporter Belinda Auton booked her flights to Sydney immediately after the club’s win against Fremantle last Saturday.
“From Launceston, it was $530 return each. I have got them as cheap as $200 before,” she said. “I wouldn’t have flown from Melbourne, I would have driven, but I’m Tassie we don’t have that option.”
Auton booked her tickets to Sydney with Jetstar but used Virgin for her flight home.
“I looked at all flights and the two I chose were cheapest. I think Qantas was around $700 one-way,” she said.
Issko predicted there would be more frustration for grassroots footy fans next week, when thousands of club members would miss out on tickets to the grand final.
He said 17,000 tickets would be made available to members of each competing club, leaving almost two-thirds of the MCG’s 100,024 seats to be filled by others. In time, the fan association says it wants half the grand final tickets (25,000 each club) made available to members of the teams playing on the day.
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* If demand rises, prices rise if there is a finite supply. Economics 101.
* there are $93 economy fares on the overnight Melbourne-Sydney train on Friday night. Can book on https://transportnsw.info/regional
* What an opportunity for the railways! Put extra trains on, make a series of fun times at various stations on the way. Charge sensibly for food and grog along the way. People will rediscover the beauty of slow-but-steady and stuff the airline rip-off merchants.
* It's as if Melburnians have suddenly discovered that getting flights to finals out of your home state is expensive. At least there is some chance Collingwood fans could drive to Sydney in less than 4 days. Definitely worth it if you can get there, have just returned from Melbourne and while Freo lost - it was still great fun.
* People have no idea how airlines work. Yield management for seats has the lowest cost seats sell first, and progressively increase until the aircraft is full. Get used to it people (and you should be used to it after decades of it), airlines across the world don't hold a bunch of discounted tickets back for people wanting to travel at the last minute. Buy early or pay for it. If you don't like it go for a long drive, sick of the whining.
* This is what non-Melbourne team fans face all the time! Why is it suddenly an issue because it is Collingwood.
* Non Victorian clubs fly interstate for a prelim final during school holidays all the time? Remind me again where the finals have been held the last two years? Not in Victoria and certainly not Collingwood 🤣
* Airlines can put the prices up all they like, SCG holds only 50,000 and most of those will be locals anyway, except my wife and daughter who will drive from Canberra, Go Pie's.
* How good is Can Do Capitalism !
* I just canceled flights Perth to Melbourne for grand final weekend that we’re $2500 each. And I booked them weeks ago not the week of the game. This is the life of the non-Victorian fan.
* Flying anywhere this Saturday was always expensive as it’s the first day of the Vic school holidays. I booked flights months ago for Thursday as Saturday was more than double the price. Supply / demand - what do you expect?! If they add more flights the airport will be even more chaotic than already anticipated! And no doubt we will hear complaints about that too!
* It’s gouging by the airlines where’s the authorities
* It happens every year. Airfares go through the roof every year when finals are played, whether it is AFL or NRL. Look at the cost to fly to Melb or Sydney on Grand Final weekend. And then there is Xmas of school holidays, anytime lots of people want to fly the airfares just go up.
* It's what they do
* Any opportunity to rip off customers, commonly known as gouging.
* No it isn't
* Supporters have been gouged ever since the competition went Australia-wide. Gone are the days when you could easily see in-person all the matches in the home and away part of the season. The furthest you’d travel would be Geelong. I vowed when Sth Melbourne went north that I would stop following the game, and since then I’ve only seen a couple of games. This year for some inexplicable reason I have started watching again, but how long I don’t know.
* Logged on at midday and purchased my ticket for Friday night's prelim. Happy days.
* As bad as the banks. And the casinos.
* Now that the Collingwood team is playing an interstate final this becomes elevated drama and news? Seriously, non Vic fans have experienced this for.....30+ years! Ask West Coast and Freo supporters, who are probably the most gouged group of supporters in the league.
* When was the last time Mason Cox actually paid for a flight? Supply and demand. Shall we ask Mason why we pay in-demand AFL players millions of dollars?
* He is sticking up for the fans. Good on him.
* Drive? Catch a train or bus?
* Drive. Leave early Saturday morning and you will be at the game in plenty of time.
* Watch petrol prices go up
* What is wrong with driving or catching the much much cheaper train or busses to Sydney flying is not the only way to get to Sydney. Paying rip off prices to airlines in not the answer!
* Too much fare. Reason Tiger airways not working. New airlines are not being allowed to fly.
* Hear Hear! Bring on Bonza, the sooner the better.
* Between cancelled flights, delays, and absurd prices for flights to Sydney now. Airline companies doing no favours for getting the trust of the public back.

NRL urge public transport use, delay kick-off for Moore Park double-header.  Adam Pengilly September 12, 2022
The NRL has pleaded with fans to take public transport to a footy finals double-header which has prompted officials to delay kick-off to avoid an overlap with a neighbouring AFL blockbuster featuring the Swans.
More than 80,000 fans are expected to swarm the Moore Park precinct for the Sharks-Rabbitohs showdown at Allianz Stadium and Sydney’s AFL grand final qualifier against Collingwood at the SCG.
video Latrell moved by Souths ovation Latrell Mitchell was overcome with emotion after a rousing reception from the Rabbitohs faithful following the win over the Roosters
It’s expected be the largest combined crowd at the two venues on the one night in recent history, eclipsing the A-League derby between Sydney FC and the Wanderers which was played on the same night as the Sixers-Thunder Big Bash clash in 2018.
The NRL has shifted its start time back to 8pm, which is expected to be 15 minutes after the Swans-Collingwood showdown finishes at the SCG.
It’s likely to see a capacity crowd of some 45,000 AFL fans spill onto Driver Avenue as the last of the NRL arrivals head into the new $828 million Allianz Stadium, which was officially opened a fortnight ago.
NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo said his organisation was urging rugby league fans to use public transport options such as light rail and buses, which will be free with each match ticket.
Rabbitohs fans at Allianz Stadium during their elimination final against the Roosters.CREDIT:GETTY
“We’re also putting on 20 buses to come from the Shire and we want fans to have a great time,” Abdo said. “This is a good opportunity to take public transport.
“We’re working hand in hand with Venues NSW to ensure it’s as smooth as possible when they arrive at this fantastic facility and precinct, and we think this is a great opportunity for fans to get here early and soak up the atmosphere in and around the stadium, and then inside the stadium.”
Abdo said the NRL would explore the prospect of Sporting Club of Sydney members being able to return tickets to the Sharks-Rabbitohs match if they didn’t want to attend. They could then be re-sold to members or fans from the two Sydney teams.
“It’s very simple for us, we want the most amount of fans we can inside the stadium,” Abdo said. “We’ll try to get as many tickets on sale to fans of our teams and the general public, and if that’s an option we’re obviously going to look at it.”
The NRL had no hesitation in scheduling the second of its semi-finals at Allianz Stadium, and would have done so even if the Sharks had been drawn to play the Roosters, currently the only permanent NRL tenant at Moore Park.
Cronulla officials had requested they play the match away from the city if it was against the Roosters, but the tricolours were beaten by arch rivals South Sydney in a spiteful elimination final which featured a record seven sin-bins.
The NRL’s stadia policy has been firmly in the spotlight after they allowed minor premiers Penrith and Cronulla to play qualifying finals at their suburban grounds, which forced tens of thousands of fans to miss out on a ticket to the western Sydney derby between the Panthers and Eels.
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* I’ll be laughing all the way along the bike path (cycling from Randwick) at anyone who thinks taking their car was a good idea
* Delaying the start will cause more chaos. There will be plenty of late arrivals for the NRL.
* ....silver family ticket $420 and bronze $190 - prices for a family of 4. then food & drink........the NRL Corprate game.....don't you all forget to drink from the abundant bar facilities cause ya all coming by public transport ya can drink ya selves silly.

‘We haven’t seen this since the early 2000s’: Fears transport may falter as population powers past.  Cloe Read September 12, 2022
Brisbane will need more medium-density housing, such as townhouses, to combat the pressures of a growing population, but experts fear development in public transport infrastructure will not meet demand.
The issue is expected to worsen as commuters living in outer suburbs struggle to travel to the CBD, with car parks at some train stations starting to fill by 6am.
video Queensland population surge puts strain on infrastructure Record numbers of Australians have moved to Queensland in recent years with more needed to offset hospital, infrastructure and rental property strains.
University of Queensland population geographer Elin Charles-Edwards said analysis had shown even if CBD employees limited their travel from suburbs – for example, by working from home one day a week – the cohort was a small share of the total employed population in Brisbane, and therefore, there would be little effect.
During COVID-19, Brisbane’s CBD reported a decline in population because of closed borders and fewer international students and migrants, and, as a result, urban areas grew faster.
But now, Charles-Edwards said the latest population data was “going gangbusters”.
“We haven’t seen levels like this since the late ’90s, early 2000s,” she said. “The question is really how long will this be sustained for?”
Areas with the highest growth rates:
Pimpama - North (up by 600%) on the Gold Coast
Ripley (350%), a suburb of Ipswich
Dakabin (260%) in Moreton Bay
The biggest problem facing those who moved to the urban fringes, Charles-Edwards said, was with transport infrastructure connecting new housing developments.
“The cost of actually getting transport out there is huge and it’s often not sequenced and delivered in as timely a fashion as you’d hope.
“There’s almost inevitably a delay in getting that heavy rail infrastructure to get it out there. And this is the consequences of what we’re seeing now.”
A spokeswoman from the Department of Main Roads and Transport said there was demand for parking at train stations, and the department continued to conduct annual surveys on the use of all parking sites.
Often, many car parks “were at capacity by 9am”, the spokeswoman said.
The surveys are used to identify where targeted investment in parking or connecting bus services might be required in future.
Charles-Edwards said greenfield developments on the urban fringes, such as the Ripley Valley in the south, and the Ormeau and Coomera region on the Gold Coast, had seen significant growth.
Springfield Central station has about 1100 parking spaces. CREDIT:TRANSPORT AND MAIN ROADS
Further north, areas such as Caloundra and Caboolture were expected to expand, placing pressure on the Bruce Highway, she said.
“A decade ago, we had more than enough capacity, now it’s really, really struggling to transport the numbers corresponding to those new residential developments,” she said.
To combat the problem, Urban Development Institute of Australia chief executive Kirsty Chessher-Brown said Brisbane needed to continue to align infrastructure and housing delivery, but also offer diversity in housing.
Across Queensland, almost 2 million dwellings were recorded in the 2021 census, an increase from 1.8 million in 2016.
Largest Brisbane train station car parks
Richlands station - 635 parking spaces
Springfield central station area - 1100 parking spaces 
Dinmore station - 475 parking spaces 
Chessher-Brown said research showed the community wants greater housing choice beyond a freestanding home.
Housing referred to as the “missing middle” offered a cheaper alternative, as well as providing more housing in areas of high demand, she said.
“Over the last decade, delivery of middle housing product has been reducing and is half what it was 10 years ago,” she said.
“Greenfield expansion is no longer a real possibility in Brisbane, so we need to continue to have a conversation with both levels of government and the community about the future shape, form, and locations of our future housing stock,” Chessher-Brown said.
“There’s no shying away from the fact that we are going to be welcoming many more people to south-east Queensland over the next 10 years in the lead-up to the Games, and the Olympics is a golden opportunity to leverage infrastructure investment.”
Greenbank, south–west of Brisbane, continues to grow. CREDIT:DAN PELED
The Greater Brisbane area has increased by 421,500 people between 2011 and 2021.
The largest growth has been at Springfield Lakes, south-west of Brisbane, which grew by about 13,500 people. This was followed by Coomera on the Gold Coast, and Murrumba Downs, north of Brisbane in the Moreton Bay region, both up about 11,500.
Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows Queensland’s population grew to about 5.24 million people as at 30 September 2021, to be 1.1 per cent higher over the year. This is much stronger than the national growth of only 0.3 per cent over the same period.
The state government has committed to spending $3.8 billion on infrastructure in the Brisbane and Redlands area in the 2022-23 budget.
* Car parking is not a good use of the space immediately surrounding transport hubs. Cars will generally carry 1-2 people to/from the station and then just sit there empty all day. Why can't we have feeder buses from surrounding suburbs and then use this limited space for other productive things like housing, retail, green space etc.?
* Funny how this wasn’t an issue during the “pandemic” and WFH. Instead of the Saturate the CBD mindset, it’s time to rethink distributed commerce.
* Where do you start in QLD....a new state govt would be my suggestion! None of these issues are a surprise, we currently have a public transit planning and operations structure, out on the first half of last century!
* What makes an academic population geographer an expert on transport planning? And the UDIA is a lobby group for developers Very poor coverage of an important issue How about planning for 3 or 4 metro subregional centres away from the CBD each with their own transport network rather than endlessly following the current trend?
This would mean no increase in rail capacity between Gold Coast/Sunshine Coast and Brisbane Why is more of this long distance commuting being encouraged?
* Caption on picture above is misleading. Springfield Central station opened in 2014. It was the enhanced carpark that opened in 2021, the station was already there.
* What about a tram system? Oh! wait a minute. Brisbane had a perfectly good one many years ago.
* It is a moment of great regret. But in fairness to Brisbane's planners, most cities around the world were doing the same thing.
* Plan a new mega city around Caboolture.
* Caboolture West is in the pipeline, but will be a car-based development. Unless development is reasonably dense and public transport (and cycle lanes and footpaths) is provided, it'll just be more unsustainable mess.
* Pleased to see Redlands infrastructure and Budget appear together in that last paragraph. It's been overlooked for far too long, of all LGAs in Australia it receives the least amount of public funding, apparently.
* When a new suburb was being built in my hometown 50 years ago, the first things built was a dual carriege way road with bus stops and a tram line in the middle so the workers could get there. Gradually new residents used trams and buses as well. All that infrastructure is still there and well utilized. There are numerous developments like that. Not in this country. The suburbs were planned for a number of people that would live there. Here just more land is cleared for profit, sorry, housing.
* We could start by dropping the Main Roads wording from the Dept of Transport & then they might think more about planning rail links rather than adding highway lanes. Continual expansion of highways & arterials does not work for a 200Km linear city. It even needs FAST rail. or longer term High-Speed Rail GC-Bris-SC, even connecting to Northern Rivers, NSW, whose growth will make it a 300km linear conurbation.
* Clearly it's time to cast open the floodgates of immigration and just let her rip. That's what we want, isn't it? That's what are governments seems to think.
* You do realise that most of the immigration is from interstate don't you? This sort of NIMBYism may pander well on a comments page, but literally adds nothing of value to the debate.
* Hopefully the trend to have more people work from home at least 3 days per week will reduce the demand on public transport. Unless people are yanked back to the office as if we were still working in the Victorian Industrial Age.
* No doubt about it. There has been a massive migration of people from the southern states particularly during the height of Covid, People come to Queensland as if it’s the promised land. And it is. Time for the govt to step up to the challenge as the population is only going to grow.
* "Brisbane will need more medium-density housing, such as townhouses,....." Yep, and in my outer suburban neighbourhood I have seen a street where single houses (albeit very large blocks) have been knocked down to be replaced with around 15 townhouse each, so far 3 blocks in the same (already fairly busy) street. So from 3 houses and lets say 6 cars to over 30 places and say lets say 25 cars. And it looks like more to come. Public transport has not changed and the road is exactly the same single lane road. Great planning that. Meanwhile inner city areas are protected because 'character'.
* This is such a good point. Driving through Paddington, Ashgrove, Wilston etc etc its disturbing how inefficent so much of the housing is. Outdated timber Queenslanders that can go from from looking lovely to a dump in no time (and a lot do). A lot of these are 405sqm blocks. With design & quality standards inforced you could build a couple of efficent townhouses on those sites. The problem, though is they would be marketed north of a million each which makes it uneconomic for most buyers.
* These places are character residential and are (and should be) protected has part of our built heritage. There are plenty of other areas that are ugly and could accomodate more dense residential development.
* If only there was some reliable big car like thing that could drive around suburbs and pick people up, then drop then at train stations - then do the reverse - something like a bus?

Bonza awaits take off as regulator considers application.  Amelia McGuire September 12, 2022
Low-cost airline Bonza’s plans to take to the Australian skies remain uncertain, with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) yet to sign off on the carrier’s operations.
Bonza burst into the local aviation scene in October last year, becoming the first airline to launch in Australia in the last 15 years.
Bonza’s first Boeing 737 MAX arrives at Sunshine Coast airport.
It’s planning to offer low-cost flights to regional holiday destinations across the east coast, but its fate lies with CASA, and it’s still unclear how much longer Bonza will have to wait for regulatory approval.
ASX-listed Regional Express, which already held the coveted Air Operators Certificate for regional flights, waited four months to get the tick from CASA to expand into city services last year. So far, Bonza has waited since April.
Bonza recently hired Virgin Australia’s former general manager of operations planning Michael Young to lead its negotiations with the safety authority, following the exit of former chief operations officer and co-founder Peter McNally.
The budget airline’s chief commercial officer Carly Povey said it hasn’t been deterred by the drawn out regulatory process.
“When the regulator is happy, we’re happy. It’s the single most important piece to running an airline,” the former Jetstar executive said, adding her team has been focussing on what they can control including finalising airport partnerships, training and recruitment. Bonza’s first fleet of cabin crew completed training on the Sunshine Coast last week.
Despite the war in Ukraine pushing up the cost of jet fuel, rampant inflation, an aviation skills shortage and the continuing operational challenges of COVID-19, Povey said Bonza’s pricing structure should make it a hit with the travelling public.
“Confidence in domestic travel is back, there’s record high demand, and we think people will be stimulated by our low prices,” she said.
In a step away from manicured tradition, Bonza cabin crew are encouraged to wear their sneaker-based uniform however they want. CREDIT:BONZA
Bonza’s flight network will cover 17 destinations including Albury, Bundaberg, Toowoomba and the Whitsunday Coast. In all but one of these destinations, the fledgling airline will be the only low-cost carrier and will fly two to three times per week. When Bonza first send out expressions of interest to its chosen airports, more than one replied if the request was sent in error.
“We’re really trying to do something different, it’s not a gimmick, we’re expanding regional travel,” Povey said.
Because of its novel structure, Povey said Bonza’s primary competitors are not other airlines, but cars.
Bonza’s first Boeing 737 MAX .
“We’re targeting those who usually drive 4-6 hours, or choose to stay home on the couch because they don’t have the luxury of flying. We want them to see a ticket fare below $100 and realise it’s cheaper and more convenient to fly with us,” she said.
Bonza’s first Boeing 737 Max 8- named “Shazza”- arrived in Queensland in July. The model was once stopped by manufacturers after it was marred by a litany of hardware and software issued that resulted in two crashes and more than 300 deaths. Since then, 135 countries have approved them for use and while Bonza will be the first domestic carrier to fly the aircraft, they’re already flying to and from Australia with other international carriers.
The group is relying on the aircraft’s superior fuel efficiency to protect it from the brunt of the jet-fuel crunch. Povey is also quick to dismiss concerns Bonza cannot be profitable with such low prices in this economy, pointing to her experience launching British budget carrier Jet2 in 2002.
“It’s a new model for Australia, but it works elsewhere. Our fuel-efficient aircraft has high capacity and will only fly two to three times a week. If we were flying 4-6 times a day on major routes with high competition and low capacity, we’d be more worried about profitability,” she said.
Povey said observing the turmoil that marred aviation over the past two years has taught the carrier the importance of adaptability.
“We’re fortunate we didn’t have to grapple with the COVID volatility, but it forced the realisation there’s a need to do things differently,” Povey said, adding the country has changed a lot since before the pandemic, a lesson Bonza’s hoping to capitalise on with an app-based customer service offering.
“The pandemic proved large-scale change to behaviour is possible. I think we’re still riding that wave of societal and travel changes. We’re not going to get everything right, but it’s partly why we’re trying to push the boundaries to meet our passengers as they change,” Povey continued.
Bonza has invested in an internal cabin and flight crew but plans to outsource aspects of its service with groups used by its airline partners such as ground handlers.
“It’s not about finding someone to outsource a job to but finding someone with a specialisation we don’t already have,” Povey said, adding the airline has already hired many aviation employees who were stood down or furloughed during COVID-19.
“We hope to be a pandemic circuit breaker. We didn’t have to live that pain, but we did learn through observation that service delivery is key, now we’re ready to deliver.”
CORRECTION An earlier version of this story stated that Bonza had been waiting for eleven months for approval from CASA to expand into city services. They have been waiting since April 17.
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* Everyone in Australia needs to support this (and any other) extra airlines. Competition is needed. Look at the standard and prices that are currently offered to the Australian public. I tried to book a one way flight online with Qantas from Sydney to Rockhampton departing in a few days time. Economy varied from $610 to $4440 one way! Business class was $1201 to $4445 one way! If you are happy with that, then don't back new airlines.
* Good luck to them Unfortunately for the time being of zero interest to me, as they don't operate out of Sydney.
* I’m sure there is a market out there for bogans wishing to fly. Good luck.
* Much prefer this mob to Qantas.
* Why do airlines have to be so juvenile? Shazza? Expect to be taken seriously?
* Not with names like that..too Australian. Rubbish. Hope they go ok but we will see. Not for me thanks.
* And flights three times a week from Whoop Whoop to Didjabringabookalong. There is a reason other airlines don't fly these routes.
* Bonza will last 3-6 months tops.
* Hope u go into the car rental business as well - people will need cars at the airport else what’s the point of going regional
* Can’t be any worse than qantas. They have set the bar very low.
* Bonza, Shazza... the names alone put me off.
* Tell em they”re dreamin’ Maybe you can buy the ticket for $100 but history shows you wont be going anywhere in the high cost business that is aviation Look around the world to see how many similar operations have failed… Or at home, Compass 1& 2, Impulse, Ozjet, Tiger, Virgin 1, to name a few low-cost, promise a lot failures. I wont be selling my car, I will buy a Tesla instead. Will be faster and greener.
* Impulse did not fail. It was bought by Qantas!
* Blame the FAA as they are dithering on a very important issue. Bonza's 737 MAX's have been sitting on the ground for the last three years after being built without any storage work to prevent them deteriorating being done by Boeing - would you buy a car that's claimed to be "brand new" that's been sitting in some dusty tumbleweed blown backlot for the last three years without even opening the bonnet to dip the oils and kick the tyres? The noise from the FAA is deafening as three years is a longtime between the build date and the delivery date issue.
* Given Bonza came to life after the max accidents, I would have thought it a poor choice of launch aircraft.
* Boeing has no connection to whether Bonza gets it's paperwork sorted out.
* Best of luck to you, hope you thrive

Train ticket racket nets worker $330,000.  Nick Gibbs September 12 2022
A woman has been jailed after stealing more than $300,000 through a train-ticket refund scam. (Samantha Manchee/AAP PHOTOS)
An office manager stole more than $300,000 over a 13-year stretch through a scam centred on bogus ticket refunds for Brisbane trains. Tanya Denise Haddon, 54, is a former employee of Airtrain Citylink Limited, the company that operates trains from Brisbane Airport. She devised a process to make it appear that customers were getting refunds, but their tickets were never cancelled, the Brisbane District Court was told on Monday. Ms Haddon also used her employer's PayPal account to purchase items online and post them to her home address, including beauty products, books and clothing, crown prosecutor James Bishop said. The offending began in mid 2006 and didn't end until 2020 when the bank noticed some unusual activity, totalling about $2000. Ms Haddon resigned and offered to pay the money back. "To the best of your knowledge, you said there were no other transactions," Judge Orazio Rinaudo said during Monday's sentencing. "Clearly there were." Ms Haddon stole a total of $330,000 from her employer, with the cash used to service debt accrued from airfares, overseas trips, clothing and restaurants, the court was told. None of the money has been paid back, and Ms Haddon doesn't have the means to do so. "Plainly, your conduct was a significant breach of trust ... it carried on over a lengthy period of time," Judge Rinaudo said. She pleaded guilty to five counts of fraud and was sentenced to five years in prison, with the term to be suspended after serving about 20 months.

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