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Posts from the ‘Public Transport’ Category

Competitive tendering hasn’t delivered for public transport, so why reward poor performance?

The Conversation, 10 October 2017
Transdev, which operates about one-third of Melbourne’s buses, recently had 33 buses taken off the road due to safety defects. Transport Safety Victoria’s action coincides with a review of a three-year rollover of the French company’s A$1.7 billion contract. The contract was announced in 2013 following competitive tendering. This confluence of events raises at least two questions about contracting for transport services. Australian state governments should reflect on whether competitive tendering necessarily delivers the best outcomes for the public, and on the role of operator performance in contract renewal.
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EasyJet says it could be flying electric planes within a decade

The Guardian, 28 September 2017
EasyJet could be flying planes powered by batteries rather than petroleum to destinations including Paris and Amsterdam within a decade. The UK carrier has formed a partnership with US firm Wright Electric, which is developing a battery-propelled aircraft for flights under two hours.
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Why trams on Sydney’s booming inner west light rail aren’t running more often

Sydney Morning Herald, 27 August 2017
Commuters wondering why trams aren’t running more frequently on Sydney’s inner west light rail line during peak hours despite a boom in passengers can now blame “capacity constraints”. Internal government documents obtained by Fairfax Media show constraints such as “power supply, stabling facilities, single track near Dulwich Hill and fleet size” are limiting a significant increase in services on the line from Central Station to Dulwich Hill during the morning peak, when overcrowding is at its worst.

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Gender makes a world of difference for safety on public transport

The Conversation, 18 July 2017
Urban environments are not gender-neutral. Architects and urban designers are increasingly seeking to understand how gender-sensitive design can combat the spatial inequities faced by those who identify as women and girls of all demographics, races and socio-economic groups. Public transport spaces, for instance, incubate many systemic issues. The observable differences between how men and women travel around cities can be attributed to the gendered power hierarchies entrenched in our society. As suggested by a University of California study, this may stem from our long history of gender inequality, which reinforces rigid binary definitions of femininity and masculinity.

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Sheffield to Rotherham tram-train is five times over budget, says NAO

The Guardian, 4 July 2017
An experimental tram-train linking Sheffield and Rotherham has cost more than five times the agreed budget and is running almost three years late, with the [UK] government forced to compensate tram operator Stagecoach for the delays with a £2.5m payment.
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Why touted public transport savings from competitive tendering are too high

The Conversation, 6 June 2017
A new report from Infrastructure Australia, Improving Public Transport: Customer Focused Franchising, and its associated technical report from Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC), will have state and federal treasurers salivating. The accompanying press release is clearly intended to set their fiscal juices flowing. It suggests that:

… subjecting the operation of Australia’s government-operated bus and rail services to competitive tender processes could save Australian taxpayers up to $15.5 billion by 2040…

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Why Gold Coast light rail was worth it (it’s about more than patronage)

The Conversation, 30 May 2017
Gold Coast’s light rail scheme has attracted great interest since the streets of Surfers Paradise were torn up and stations and track were built. Was it worth spending A$1.5 billion on 13km of light rail and more than $40 million a year in subsidies? Are we right to be spending another $420 million on an extension to Helensvale in time for the Commonwealth Games? Should we be taking it all the way down to Gold Coast Airport? Another question is whether gains in property values served by the project could be “captured” to fund such infrastructure.
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Peter Newman’s new book launched

Peter Newman’s new book is here (Tim Beatley and Heather Boyer, co-authors): Resilient Cities, Second Edition: Overcoming Fossil Fuel Dependence (ISBN: 9781610916851/US$35.00). It shows how we are going in cities around the world in getting rid of fossil fuels and what more we can do. See https://islandpress.org/book/resilient-cities-second-edition

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Get used to your commute: data confirms houses near jobs are too expensive

The Conversation, 18 May 2017
Australia’s capital cities are getting more and more units, that are largely concentrated and come with a hefty price tag, a new report shows. And while these areas also have lots of jobs, the high price for houses means many on low incomes won’t be able to access that employment. Between 2006 and 2014, more than 50% of new units were built in the 20% of local government areas with the highest number of jobs. When compared internationally, it would seem that Australian housing supply has not been as weak as is widely believed. However, the report points to some stark differences in housing supply patterns, emerging across Australia’s capital cities.
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Tram ticket inspectors ‘demand to see woman’s banking details to prove ID’

The Age, 8 May 2017
The conduct of ticket inspectors on a Melbourne tram has been questioned after claims they demanded a woman show her banking details to prove her identity. Rob Corr was catching a tram home on Sunday afternoon, outside RMIT, when he overheard a Public Transport Victoria ticket inspector ask an overseas student to log into the banking app on her mobile phone.
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