Public transport in the aftermath of Covid-19

 
Topic moved from New South Wales by dthead on 04 Apr 2020 12:05
  Ethan1395 Train Controller

Location: An OSCar H Set
KEEP DEBATES ON WHETHER PUBLIC TRANSPORT IS CURRENTLY SAFE TO USE OR NOT TO A MINIMUM TO AVOID THE TOPIC BEING LOCKED

Most know that public transport patraonge has declined significantly during the Covid-19 pandemic, both because less people have jobs to commute to, more people are working at home, and others find safety in their cars (myself included).
But what is the outlook for public transport once the pandemic is over. when we have to rebuilt our way of life, I know I saw @djf01 feels public transport may not recover it's patronage for decades following this event, but I'm wondering if there might be other impacts such as:

- locally built transport vehicles after learning that it's not good to depend so heavily on other nations, both because we can't effectively close our borders, and to help with job creation to help recover fro such mass unemployment

- high demand for public transport in all areas following the mass unemployment as many may not be able to afford to pay their car registration and insurance

- high demand for improved and faster regional services (but not HSR) if Virgin collapses and leaves Qantas as the only airline free to gouge the market (as they already pretty much do)

- more opposition to automated metros and driver-only operation in the aftermath of the mass unemployment


What other impacts to public transport may we see in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic?

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  freightgate Minister for Railways

Location: Albury, New South Wales
Predict the stopping of privatisation of the system in ADELAIDE as travel will reduce for the time being due to business layoffs and government restrictions.
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

Predict the stopping of privatisation of the system in ADELAIDE as travel will reduce for the time being due to business layoffs and government restrictions.
freightgate
The arrangement for the private management of the government-owned system in Adelaide is that the government will continue to hold the fare revenue and set ticket prices, so I don't see any reason that COVID-19 should be any obstacle to the 1 July transfer of tram operations to the Torrens Connect operation.
  viaprojects Chief Train Controller






What other impacts to public transport may we see in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic?
Ethan1395


nice profits to the foreign companies, all up to the terms of the contracts .. but with the jobkeeepr payments etc, there would be a large cash flow from the government.

bus and air are mostly owned by overseas owners , Sydney toll roads just upped there charges .. rail is an unknown as they supply maybe a one off but repairs are local..
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE





What other impacts to public transport may we see in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic?

nice profits to the foreign companies, all up to the terms of the contracts .. but with the jobkeeepr payments etc, there would be a large cash flow from the government.

bus and air are mostly owned by overseas owners , Sydney toll roads just upped there charges .. rail is an unknown as they supply maybe a one off but repairs are local..
viaprojects
The tender for Adelaide Rail was open, no restrictions on potential interested parties. Its also a management contract, probably not alot different to the cleaning and other other contracts issues by Trans Adelaide.

Both major airlines are listed on the ASX and as far as profits go, well VA isn't reknown for its profitability.

Bus companies, not sure, not really interested.
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

The tender for Adelaide Rail was open, no restrictions on potential interested parties. Its also a management contract, probably not alot different to the cleaning and other other contracts issues by Trans Adelaide.
RTT_Rules
TransAdelaide (the arm's length company) hasn't existed since 2010, when the Rann government sold off TransAdelaide's remaining stake in a couple of bus operation joint ventures (the ALP is the party of privatisation) and brought the train/tram operations in house to be run directly by public servants.

Costs have been spiralling out of control since the ability to fire underperforming managers was lost. I endorse the future direction of state ownership and private management, as I'd much rather that a handful of fat middle managers get cut than services to the public.

The bus contracts in Adelaide have all been awarded for the contract period to start on 1 July this year, with the north-south contract area also to include the tram operations. They are all management contracts so they won't be negatively affected by COVID-19, in fact they are well positioned to benefit from any temporary suspension of services if they are agile enough to use it as an opportunity for preventative maintenance and training of staff.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

KEEP DEBATES ON WHETHER PUBLIC TRANSPORT IS CURRENTLY SAFE TO USE OR NOT TO A MINIMUM TO AVOID THE TOPIC BEING LOCKED

Most know that public transport patraonge has declined significantly during the Covid-19 pandemic, both because less people have jobs to commute to, more people are working at home, and others find safety in their cars (myself included).
But what is the outlook for public transport once the pandemic is over. when we have to rebuilt our way of life, I know I saw @djf01 feels public transport may not recover it's patronage for decades following this event, but I'm wondering if there might be other impacts such as:
Ethan1395

I'm going to deal with the first part of the question first.  I don't think PT is safe, either from COV19 and the numerous strains that are likely to pop up over the next few years and decades.  It's going to force a rethink of PT in many ways.

I suspect the main one will be it's transport of last resort, only those who have to use it will, and using it will be more like visiting CentreLink than the QANTAS lounge.

I think social distancing will be with us for a very long time, even post vaccine, in one form or another.  This will have an adverse impact on capacity and cost effectiveness, especially of high volume products like rail.

Our (adult) population is going to fall substantially in the next six months, one way or another.  

(Inbound) Immigration will probably cease completely for several years, perhaps decades.  Our population will stop growing, as will the need for the apartment farms.

Months of lockdown, however it is eventually resolved, will see an increased demand for people wanting larger stand alone homes.  The convenience of an apartment won't be all that attractive, and people will be prepared to travel further - and by preference in their cars - to be able to live somewhere with space so the next time we're thrown into lockdown they have a back yard.

This event more than anything will drive white collar work out of business owned offices and into their employees' premises.

Without immigration fuelled property booms, state governments are going to struggle for cash, and the funding for infrastructure projects won't be there.  They'll be increasingly dependant on the Feds, who will be (driven by the political desire for most people to stay safely in their car) inclined to fund road projects, not PT.

While I hate it, I think the future prospect for public transport, and rail in particular, is especially bleak.
  Ethan1395 Train Controller

Location: An OSCar H Set
Both major airlines are listed on the ASX and as far as profits go, well VA isn't reknown for its profitability.
RTT_Rules
What is the chances of Virgin collapsing? I know someone who thinks they will.

If they do, domestic air travel will be reserved for only the wealthy of Qantas is the only player without government regulation, they already price gouge as it is, imagine if they were the only Australian airline.

Could a situation like this see a greater demand for improved (but not HSR) interstate and regional services.
I think a 7 hour train journey could complete with a 1 hour flight if the price was right given the airport hassles.


KEEP DEBATES ON WHETHER PUBLIC TRANSPORT IS CURRENTLY SAFE TO USE OR NOT TO A MINIMUM TO AVOID THE TOPIC BEING LOCKED

Most know that public transport patraonge has declined significantly during the Covid-19 pandemic, both because less people have jobs to commute to, more people are working at home, and others find safety in their cars (myself included).
But what is the outlook for public transport once the pandemic is over. when we have to rebuilt our way of life, I know I saw @djf01 feels public transport may not recover it's patronage for decades following this event, but I'm wondering if there might be other impacts such as:

I'm going to deal with the first part of the question first.  I don't think PT is safe, either from COV19 and the numerous strains that are likely to pop up over the next few years and decades.  It's going to force a rethink of PT in many ways.

I suspect the main one will be it's transport of last resort, only those who have to use it will, and using it will be more like visiting CentreLink than the QANTAS lounge.

I think social distancing will be with us for a very long time, even post vaccine, in one form or another.  This will have an adverse impact on capacity and cost effectiveness, especially of high volume products like rail.

Our (adult) population is going to fall substantially in the next six months, one way or another.  

(Inbound) Immigration will probably cease completely for several years, perhaps decades.  Our population will stop growing, as will the need for the apartment farms.

Months of lockdown, however it is eventually resolved, will see an increased demand for people wanting larger stand alone homes.  The convenience of an apartment won't be all that attractive, and people will be prepared to travel further - and by preference in their cars - to be able to live somewhere with space so the next time we're thrown into lockdown they have a back yard.

This event more than anything will drive white collar work out of business owned offices and into their employees' premises.

Without immigration fuelled property booms, state governments are going to struggle for cash, and the funding for infrastructure projects won't be there.  They'll be increasingly dependant on the Feds, who will be (driven by the political desire for most people to stay safely in their car) inclined to fund road projects, not PT.

While I hate it, I think the future prospect for public transport, and rail in particular, is especially bleak.
djf01

Very bleak outlooks indeed, however I think there would be a few variables.

While people's preference might be the car, reality and practicality might say otherwise, we are potentially going into a Great-Depression like event, people might be able to afford so many cars, remember that already people on the lowest incomes pay the most for car insurance.

This could potentially lead to a greater demand for public transport, yes public transport might be used of last resort and only be people who absolutely have to use it like you mentioned, however that number of people who have no other option may increase.

Your point about apartments vs houses is interesting, while it may be the case for some, a yard is also an extra housework burden, so it would be interesting to see just how many people might be willing to travel extra to deal with more maintenance, it would probably depend on the size of the family and if both parents are working.
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

Both major airlines are listed on the ASX and as far as profits go, well VA isn't reknown for its profitability.
What is the chances of Virgin collapsing? I know someone who thinks they will.

If they do, domestic air travel will be reserved for only the wealthy of Qantas is the only player without government regulation, they already price gouge as it is, imagine if they were the only Australian airline.
Ethan1395
If Virgin collapses, someone will fill the gap.

A very small portion of the gap (maybe a couple of percentage points) might get filled by rail or coaches, but the remainder will get filled by another airline just as Virgin did following the collapse of Ansett.

Could a situation like this see a greater demand for improved (but not HSR) interstate and regional services.
I think a 7 hour train journey could compete with a 1 hour flight if the price was right given the airport hassles.
Ethan1395
It's not a case of it being a black-and-white case of it either being competitive or not, but of how much of the market share it can take.

The current version of the UIC (International Union of Railways) brochure on high speed rail makes this comment on the issue:
The competition between high speed rail and air transport has been tested in many places, all over the world and around the clock. The major outcome is that, regardless of the rail and air companies involved, modal shares are driven by the relationship between the respective door-to-door travel times.
Furthermore, on most Origin-Destination (OD) pairs, the rail and air market shares can be accurately predicted using just the high speed train travel time :
Where rail travel time is less than 2h, HSR completely dominates the market and air companies often give up competing. A good example of this is the Paris-Brussels route;
Where rail travel time is between 2h and 3h30 minutes, rail is the dominant mode;
Where rail travel time is between 3h30 and 5h, air is the dominant mode;
Where rail travel time is more than 5h, rail becomes a marginal actor compared to air.
UIC

The following graph is provided:


High air travel costs might boost the appeal of rail on intercapital journeys a tiny bit, but only until the gap is filled and competition resumes in the airline sector.

… given the airport hassles.
Ethan1395
If you're talking about a 7+ hour rail journey, then the hassle of battling to/from the central rail station need to be given equal weighting as the hassles of getting to/from the airports.

7 hours means that a business trip will rarely be from one city's CBD to another, because 7+ hours is a full day's travel and you'll have people going directly from home at the start of the trip and returning directly to home at the end.
  GeoffreyHansen Minister for Railways

Location: In a FAM sleeper
When Ansett collapsed I think more passengers may have traveled on the Indian Pacific to Broken Hill as there wasn't an airline flying to Broken Hill.

Back then Virgin Blue was already established but small and grew to fill the void. Now if Virgin collapses there isn't an established third airline to fill the void in Australia.
  GeoffreyHansen Minister for Railways

Location: In a FAM sleeper
Long term will the COVID-19 situation cause more people to live in outer suburbs or regional areas?
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
When Ansett and its Qld regional subsidy collapsed over which had the contracts for regional Qld the Qld govt moved very quickly to signup Qantas and get planes flying within days or a week, not weeks.

Personal opinion

Should VA collapse QF is in a very good position to quickly move in as QF have the lions share of the regional market anyway.

Should VA collapse in the immediate future then QF will be able to quickly ramp up using its current mothballed fleet and staff to take on both its and VA post CV work load which we all know will be significantly reduced for some time. It could actually see QF return to sustainable (profitable) operations very quickly in what is expected to be a recession or post recession market. Should they need more staff, planes and equipment, I'm sure they will move quickly with the receiver and /or one of many receivers around the world closing down one of the many collapsed airlines, however VA's assets will be a quick sale for the Receiver.

I know some people fell that QF will love the non-competitive market, however after the last Ansett collapse I did here a few industry experts say QF won't like it because  the regulators will be all over them looking for exploiting the market. Also QF will know its only a matter of time someone will move in and in doing so progressively eat into market share for which they ramped up for.

The discounted assets of VA's firesale will also enable other operators to quickly and cheaply establish themselves in the profitable Australian market moving quickly to grab 25% of the market will minimal effort within 12 - 18mths.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Long term will the COVID-19 situation cause more people to live in outer suburbs or regional areas?
GeoffreyHansen
I don't think so. The detached housing market in the capital cities has in most cases minimal empty stock. People choose to live in the concrete boxes for various reasons and virus or not most of this won't change.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
I suspect if Australia was to enter a deep sharp recession as expected (along with the rest of the world), immigration will naturally evaporate due to a combination of govt blocks, lack of opportunity and a more hungry domestic population chasing jobs after loosing their own regardless of salary or conditions that may have previously only attracted foreigners.

Our population is only sustained by immigration with a birth replacement rate approaching 1.75 babies per woman (replacement is 2.1) and if your out of a job, breeding usually takes a back seat as it has in the past so expect population stagnation.

The question is how long will all this last for? Personal view is the recession will be short and sharp and growth will commence immediately after, but slow and steady. I believe the world bank is expecting Q3 2020 to be the start.
  Ethan1395 Train Controller

Location: An OSCar H Set
Long term will the COVID-19 situation cause more people to live in outer suburbs or regional areas?
I don't think so. The detached housing market in the capital cities has in most cases minimal empty stock. People choose to live in the concrete boxes for various reasons and virus or not most of this won't change.
RTT_Rules
Agreed, I for example hate yardwork and would desire a smaller property (although admittedly a smaller detached home with a small paved yard), and consider it important to live within a walking distance of a railway station since parking at one is impossible.
With that being said, we might still see a migration to the outer suburbs, non-capital cities, and regional areas due to a recession/mass unemployment as people might not be able to afford the exorbitant rents in the capitals.

When Ansett and its Qld regional subsidy collapsed over which had the contracts for regional Qld the Qld govt moved very quickly to signup Qantas and get planes flying within days or a week, not weeks.

I know some people fell that QF will love the non-competitive market, however after the last Ansett collapse I did here a few industry experts say QF won't like it because  the regulators will be all over them looking for exploiting the market. Also QF will know its only a matter of time someone will move in and in doing so progressively eat into market share for which they ramped up for.

The discounted assets of VA's firesale will also enable other operators to quickly and cheaply establish themselves in the profitable Australian market moving quickly to grab 25% of the market will minimal effort within 12 - 18mths.
RTT_Rules
The difference is when Ansett collapsed, their wasn't a financial/economic crisis (as far as I know), it would probably take longer to establish a competitor airline given the circumstances.
And unfortunately our government has never shown any desire for regulating big business, thus giving Qantas the ability to price gouge (they already do, imagine if they were the only airline), and potentially providing a greater demand for improved regional rail.

I suspect if Australia was to enter a deep sharp recession as expected (along with the rest of the world), immigration will naturally evaporate due to a combination of govt blocks, lack of opportunity and a more hungry domestic population chasing jobs after loosing their own regardless of salary or conditions that may have previously only attracted foreigners.

Our population is only sustained by immigration with a birth replacement rate approaching 1.75 babies per woman (replacement is 2.1) and if your out of a job, breeding usually takes a back seat as it has in the past so expect population stagnation.

The question is how long will all this last for? Personal view is the recession will be short and sharp and growth will commence immediately after, but slow and steady. I believe the world bank is expecting Q3 2020 to be the start.
RTT_Rules
I doubt it's going to be a quick recession, we never had enough jobs to support our population prior to this happening, with that being said, hopefully the population stagnation gives us enough time to provide enough jobs and infrastructure to support our existing population.

We certainly do have a lot to learn from this, there should be no more heavy reliance on other nations which led to us not having enough jobs, and there should be no more mass casualisation of the workforce which led to many being helpless when all this started.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Agreed, I for example hate yardwork and would desire a smaller property (although admittedly a smaller detached home with a small paved yard), and consider it important to live within a walking distance of a railway station since parking at one is impossible.
With that being said, we might still see a migration to the outer suburbs, non-capital cities, and regional areas due to a recession/mass unemployment as people might not be able to afford the exorbitant rents in the capitals.

The difference is when Ansett collapsed, their wasn't a financial/economic crisis (as far as I know), it would probably take longer to establish a competitor airline given the circumstances.
And unfortunately our government has never shown any desire for regulating big business, thus giving Qantas the ability to price gouge (they already do, imagine if they were the only airline), and potentially providing a greater demand for improved regional rail.

I doubt it's going to be a quick recession, we never had enough jobs to support our population prior to this happening, with that being said, hopefully the population stagnation gives us enough time to provide enough jobs and infrastructure to support our existing population.

We certainly do have a lot to learn from this, there should be no more heavy reliance on other nations which led to us not having enough jobs, and there should be no more mass casualisation of the workforce which led to many being helpless when all this started.
Ethan1395
Normally poor financial climate sees a migration to cities as more likely to find work as rural/regional areas tend to suffer more and don't expect rents to remain high if unemployment starts to rise and/or across the board salary cuts.

Re: Ansett, yes, no financial crisis at the time, but still recovering somewhat from Sept-11. Assuming the economy has completed its recessionary direction, you will see the right people move quickly as this is the time to make money.

If you have ever worked in big business you will know how much regulation there is and how much it can strangle business development and how much big business does to remain on side with the govt, so I disagree with that statement.

Qantas charge what the public will pay, business 101. Probably best not to focus on the fares, but focus on their business performance and dividend and taxes on profit. If they are not paying either or much over the longterm, then the prices are not high enough to cover their costs.

The population growth was creating the jobs, without it alot of govt infrastructure investment will slow right down as what we have now is sufficient or the growth demand isn't coming to justify. Remember the days NSW built a new Sydney rail line once in a generation, not term of govt period? The recessionary period will I'm expecting be between 2 and 4mths, because its diving so quickly we get to the bottom quickly. The share market has likely already bottomed out. Also the cause for the recession is due to reasons outside people's incentive to spend, rather ability to spend. As soon as people can return to the market spending things will change, however the damage has been done so job seekers will accept lower wages and likewise those in the market will do the same to retain employment. Also business confidence is now damaged so employers will likely immediately suspend recruitment and major projects (what we are doing).

I cannot see major changes for regional rail outside existing commitments as the market will not overly change. The risk is more likely the loss of services.

Casualisation of the workforce in Australia, I think this term is more abused than used. Have alook at this link
https://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/rp/rp1718/CasualEmployeesAustralia

Especially Table 1 and Figure 5.

If you are a female, there is no such thing as casualisation of the workforce and your chances of full time vs casual employment have improved since 1992 with females dropping from 30% to 27%.

If you are male, yes you are more likely to be casual increasing from 14 to 23% with most of that change occurring in the first half of the 90's (14 to 19%). You can read into this a number of reasons such as back then this is when businesses and govt departments initiated most of their outsourcing of services, IT, cleaning, maintenance etc supported by the political leadership of the time to make the country more competitive.

I know personally many who choose this as sub-contractors enabling more flexible conditions of employment and earn more money by nominating the hours they want to work not constrained by a rigid 40h week structure. I've done it myself for 5 years (and got finance for a house loan) and my inlaws have been like this for most of their married life in IT. QR also finally got union support for part-time drivers to enable a more flexible workforce. The service sector especially relies on labour on demand, rather than trying to find a demand for labour.  Yes, if you like the security of full time work, then its hard on the mind set.

Anyway, my view, I'm sure others will feel otherwise.
  Carnot Minister for Railways

Whether working from home continues long-term will depend on how employee productivity fared during the lockdown. I suspect if it's shown to be effective, then I expect many office workers might end up moving to provincial cities for the lifestyle and commuting one or two days per week to Head Office in the big smoke.

So perhaps this might see an increase in V/line patronage?

The house price and unemployment situation will impact this no doubt as well.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Whether working from home continues long-term will depend on how employee productivity fared during the lockdown. I suspect if it's shown to be effective, then I expect many office workers might end up moving to provincial cities for the lifestyle and commuting one or two days per week to Head Office in the big smoke.

So perhaps this might see an increase in V/line patronage?

The house price and unemployment situation will impact this no doubt as well.
Carnot
I hope you are right and it leads to a cultural change in work like this. I know plenty who do this. One friend is a project manager for Microsoft and they lived all over UK and even France meeting in person a few times a month. Allows for a much higher standard of living. Good deal for company as well as no high cost commercial realestate.

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