Regional Rail Link Bendigo Wise

 
  railblogger Chief Commissioner

Location: At the back of the train, quitely doing exactly what you'd expect.
adding services by way of extensions will by default provide more services to existing stations. why is this not a good thing?
JimYarin

How does an extension of an existing service provide more trains?

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  ZH836301 Chief Commissioner

Location: BleakCity
ZH, you seem to like reports, have you read this one?
BretonGolding

I notice how the goal posts always change whenever you correct someone on this topic (it has become so often repeated it has become a meme), demonstrating that they clearly aren't interested in the facts and find it more of an emotive issue than an economic one. You can produce as much data as you like showing how road users pay their way whilst rail freight and passenger doesn't come close, but it's never enough. I provide the data that shows you're completely wrong, and it's something else like traffic accidents. Note that traffic accidents are supported by TAC payments and it's policing. Note that policing is supported by fines, etc. and then it's pollution... blah, blah, blah.


Then comes the inevitable congestion response, but the person never seems to understand it, and they just spit out unreferenced figures to what is an incredibly complex and varied concept. It's a form of cognitive dissonance (2+2=5), where you form the conclusion (roads can't possibly pay their way) then desperately search for the non-existent evidence to support it. When you have congestion costs, who do you think bears those costs? You essentially want to charge people for costs they are already subject to. Let's look at the source from that study you linked:


BITRE: Estimating urban traffic and congestion cost trends for Australian cities (2007)



BTRE estimates of the ‘avoidable’ cost of congestion (i.e. where the benefits to road users of some travel in congested conditions are less than the costs imposed on other road users and the wider community)
for the Australian capitals (using an aggregate modelling approach) total approximately $9.4 billion for 2005. This total is comprised of $3.5 billion in private time costs, $3.6 billion in business time costs, $1.2 billion in extra vehicle operating costs, and $1.1 billion in extra air pollution costs. The estimates do not take account of the implementation costs of any congestion alleviation measures, and are not strictly comparable to standard measures of aggregate national income (such as GDP)....
The complex nature of congestion effects leads to reasonable levels of uncertainty in such cost estimations.


However, a major proportion of the derived cost values refer to elements that playno part in the evaluation of GDP, such as private travel costs. Say, forexample, that some congestion measure did happen to successfullyreduce a city’s traffic to the economic optimum, thereby ‘saving’ theavoidable congestion costs, and resulting in many travellers beingable to take their trips less encumbered by congestion delays. Thoughthese time savings would undoubtedly have benefits for many roadusers (where the DWL calculations attempt to suitably evaluate the netchanges in road user utility in dollar terms), such benefit amounts—especially with regard to private individuals—will not have a clear-cutbearing on the size of any GDP changes that happen to flow from thecongestion reduction.

It's vital that you read and understand concepts before trying to use them as arguments - Greens and other PT advocates simply see the word 'cost' and think they can simply grab such figures to claim such things are road use expenses. As you can see much of the 'costs' are contributed to the time costs to private users. It makes no sense to charge for such costs, or to list them as an expense to be associated with the road network. The 'costs' are also calculated for a unhindered journey (ie. travelling on empty roads). You can also make such calculations for rail use, in terms of reliability and pedestrian flows, which also belies the sense in trying to use this as an argument against road use.

Now what these figures refer to (used in your linked report) are the 'Deadweight Loss Cost of Congestion' or 'avoidable loss of traffic congestion'. Basically they indicate the net social benefit if appropriate traffic management or pricing schemes were introduced and optimal traffic levels were obtained. This is where you are mistaken - it is not a true cost indicating a deficiency in road pricing, but a benefit that could be obtained with physical congestion controls (flow control etc.) and applying congestion affects to road pricing (ie. congestino zoning etc.) rather than the current method with does not consider congestion (eg. it assumes all travel contributes to expenditure equally). They are of course and upper bound due to the impossibility of calculating and charging differently at every point in the network and costs associated with charging in such a way (the benefit of excise/registration is the relative simplicity of collection which has relatively limited collection cost).


There are parts of road pricing that could be improved - indexation of road excise must return (expenditure is beginning to approach revenue due to losses in revenue growth due to this as well as increasing construction costs) with some restructuring of how the revenue is collected (ie. weighting travel by time of day) to improve efficiency.


But the fact is, roads pay their way, rail does not - this must be rectified, and the latter must pay its way if it is to see any growth, otherwise it will continue to be neglected by government (almost rightfully so).
  ZH836301 Chief Commissioner

Location: BleakCity
He might get some traction if a) he offered ideas, etc on how to improve VLine and/or Metro services and b) resisted the urge to bag many ideas that are posted (even though some of them are foam covered). Sticking to the economic dry viewpoint ignores the fact that the State of Victoria is not a business but a community (with all its good and not-so-good points).
ParkesHub

The problem is that this site (as with many PT advocate sites) has a lot of poorly thought out ideas with limited analysis (the why part) and little consideration of economic concerns.  Completely different to other sites which discuss such things where contributors actually put thought into ideas (ie. there is something to debate).  For someone like our recent friend who just put dots on a map (stations next to suburban streets for the Melbourne Airport extension), is it really unfair to expect some justification?  There's a big difference between rational plans that consider reality and fantasy.


Now in this very thread, there is the perfect idea for improving service levels, raising fares.


You can't play the community service card because I'm not calling for an elimination of concession fares either, merely that they be administered under Centrelink as a welfare benefit (eg. so regional and suburban users aren't unfairly discriminated against in not receiving any sort of benefit due to their travel locations beyond the PT nework).  To claim that raising fares somehow hurts the CBD office worker who is still getting a much better deal than the average driver, and especially than the average driver driving to the CBD and paying for parking etc. doesn't make any sense.


Government doesn't touch PT for two reasons - first is unsupported capital expenditure costs (not present for roads), second is the failure for revenue coverage of even operation expenditure.  It means you not only kick the budget against the wall when you build a PT project, you continue to have it leeching off the budget ad infinum.  You can't just ignore the economic reality because you don't like it.


If fares are raised to cost recovery levels, expenditure no longer becomes a reason to deny growth of public transport infrastructure.
  duttonbay Minister for Railways

If fares are raised to cost recovery levels, expenditure no longer becomes a reason to deny growth of public transport infrastructure.
"ZH836301"

What do you think the fares might be?  Say for commuters living in Castlemaine, Pakenham and Modialloc.
  mejhammers1 Chief Commissioner

He might get some traction if a) he offered ideas, etc on how to improve VLine and/or Metro services and b) resisted the urge to bag many ideas that are posted (even though some of them are foam covered). Sticking to the economic dry viewpoint ignores the fact that the State of Victoria is not a business but a community (with all its good and not-so-good points).
ParkesHub

Sorry Parkes Hub I do not understand? What is economic dry viewpoint about the Passenger paying more through the farebox. I come from the UK, one of the biggest and generous welfare state systems in the world and even they realize that more money needs to come through the way of fares or the Rail infrastructure will be subject to the following

the latter must pay its way if it is to see any growth, otherwise it will continue to be neglected by government.


Improvements to V/Line and Metro Services must be paid for Governments are not going to Raid Health or Education budgets to pay for them.


Michael
  railblogger Chief Commissioner

Location: At the back of the train, quitely doing exactly what you'd expect.
Government doesn't touch PT for two reasons - first is unsupported capital expenditure costs (not present for roads), second is the failure for revenue coverage of even operation expenditure. It means you not only kick the budget against the wall when you build a PT project, you continue to have it leeching off the budget ad infinum. You can't just ignore the economic reality because you don't like it.
ZH836301

Can I ask where you got this information from?
If fares are raised to cost recovery levels, expenditure no longer becomes a reason to deny growth of public transport infrastructure.
ZH836301

No need to raise fares (at least not on V/Line). If the $19/pax subsidy information is true, then, based on the PTV fares information, we can make up most, if not all, of the costs by reducing the discounts on periodical tickets to at least 30% instead of the current 70%, and by axing off-peak fares, which would bring in up to $17 more per pax.
The problem is that this site (as with many PT advocate sites) has a lot of poorly thought out ideas with limited analysis (the why part) and little consideration of economic concerns. Completely different to other sites which discuss such things where contributors actually put thought into ideas (ie. there is something to debate). For someone like our recent friend who just put dots on a map (stations next to suburban streets for the Melbourne Airport extension), is it really unfair to expect some justification? There's a big difference between rational plans that consider reality and fantasy.
ZH836301

It's not really unfair, but then again people do have right to voice their opinions/thoughts. After all, this is a discussion board.
  ZH836301 Chief Commissioner

Location: BleakCity
Without the full data it is impossible to define exactly, but it is possible to make reasonable estimates with what is available.

Fundamentally you want to meet cost recovery. Concessions should be the realm of Centrelink (since that is where cost of living subsidies for things like transport belong for those who need them), and you would basically have one fare type (under 18s free for metro, and small charge for Vline) without variance for time. Roads meet not only operational expenditure (opex: maintenance, etc.) but provide additional revenue that provides for continual capital expenditure (capex: road expansion, etc.) which provides for general road expansion (new developments, amplification) as well as occasional major projects. Ideally we would prefer that public transport revenue provided for capex, but we can assign some of the capex to things like value capture (major component of City Loop funding), station fees (such as Sydney airport link) and delay of road capex (a relatively minor benefit in comparison), but we definitely require coverage of opex at minimum (a major impediment to PT projects is they become eternal budgetary drains).

You can however alter slightly how you obtain the revenue (ie. shifting the revenue base, but still obtaining the same net revenue). The only limited justification for periodicals is if the revenue forgone from the lower fares is exceeded by revenue for extra patronage, which requires study of price elasticity. Basically if you say lose $100 million for dropping fares, the extra revenue for additional patronage (less the extra expenditure for meeting that patronage) must be greater than $100 million, or it becomes pointless. Similarly you could apply different charges for peak and off peak (much easier for PT compared with roads) the concept being that the price elasticity in peak periods (workers, etc.) is lower than that in off peak periods (discretionary travel, shoppting, etc.), that is peak travellers place more value on their travel and are prepared to pay more of it.

tl;dr:

*Recovery of operating expenditure at minimum
*Concessions to Centrelink (except minors)
*No periodicals (unless justifiable economic case)
*Possible peak/off peak pricing (again, depending on economics)

Now in terms of the data that is readily available, we have:

*Expenditure (figure we must meet with expenditure for cost recovery)
*Farebox revenue / journeys (indicates average fare required, and subsidisation)
*Tickets sold (helps identify split between single tickets and periodicals)

The data for Vline is much easier to obtain (since they are a public company). Their subsidisation level is about 75% (ie. passengers pay only 25% of operating costs). From the ticketing:journeys ratio it is apparent a good chunk of their tickets sold are periodicals. It's clear that the periodicals are severely underpriced, even in comparison to their regular tickets. The drop in patronage for raising these periodicals to the price of a standard ticket would be insignificant, as the cost would still be remarkably cheap in comparison to driving (parking, petrol, maintenance), the ability to change habits difficult (you still need to commute unless you ditch your job), and the travel time benefits sizable (no peak period road stress, time to work, etc.).

I made a summary for Little River I shall have to find - I also need trial it for metro areas (harder) and other Vline locations. The subsidisation figure of 75% makes it seem like the fare rises would be immense, but it's necessary to remember much of the subsidisation is to provide the illogically cheap periodicals. Making some basic assumptions, I arrived at:

Little River:

$25 - cost recovery daily
$12 - current daily (2x fare increase)
$6 - current multi-day (4x fare increase)

$40 - car lower estimate
$55 - car upper estimate

So the type of increase is not overly excessive (we need to remember even standard tickets are ridiculously cheap). You'd be looking at about 2x for standard tickets, and 4x for periodicals in the case of Little River (would need to produce figures for elsewhere). This is still much cheaper than driving, which is maybe $10-15 for early bird parking (ie. need to enter early), 100km in fuel (say $15-20), maybe $10 in maintenance and $5-10 on depreciation, giving a range of $40-55. Thus the fares at cost recovery are still superior to driving (which is logically expected as if they weren't it would indicate PT as less efficient than driving) even before you start to consider the value of working while commuting or avoiding stress associated with peak traffic.

You could, subject to detailed analysis, structure how that PT revenue is collected (ie. raise the same amount in different ways), such as:

*Distance based charging - fairest method of collection, can be split into three zones (in each of metro and regional) with different rates in each (highest rate for inner metro, with decreasing distance rates further out), GPS 'crow-flight' distance (avoids disadvantage caused by indirect routes)

*Flagfall - such charging can help deal with differences in road journey costs to different locations such as inner metro stations and bus/tram locations that can't be sufficiently exploited by distance charges; high charges for places like the airport (helping to pay for its construction given large non-taxpayer usage)

*Periodicals - unlikely to be justifiable, since the nature of peak travel (low elasticity) makes it difficult to justify, especially when fares would already be cheaper than road

*Peak/off peak charging - the main reason to investigate this is the differences in price elasticity between peak and off-peak use, in essence off peak travel is more sensitive to price signals with respect to modal choice due to the lack of congestion

*Value capture - this is an important funding arm for capital expenditure for PT projects (used for city loop) given the lack of capex support from PT revenue (difficult to create until use is sufficiently high), so extremely justifiable for major projects where land value benefits are quite localised

There's no reason why we can't charge proper fares for PT that lead to cost recovery of opex at minimum, and it's vital if we are to see any growth in spending for it.
  railblogger Chief Commissioner

Location: At the back of the train, quitely doing exactly what you'd expect.
It's a fair point. But how did you find out what the government is thinking?
  ZH836301 Chief Commissioner

Location: BleakCity
With respect to favourtism of roads, and lack of interest in rail?

It's common sense.
  ParkesHub Chief Commissioner

Sorry Parkes Hub I do not understand? What is economic dry viewpoint about the Passenger paying more through the farebox. I come from the UK, one of the biggest and generous welfare state systems in the world and even they realize that more money needs to come through the way of fares or the Rail infrastructure will be subject to the following

the latter must pay its way if it is to see any growth, otherwise it will continue to be neglected by government.


Improvements to V/Line and Metro Services must be paid for Governments are not going to Raid Health or Education budgets to pay for them.


Michael
mejhammers1


Michael,

There's no issue with the fact that fares are too cheap. However, I doubt that 100% fare recovery is achievable either practically or politically. Having said that, 25% is unreasonable. How would you sell the fare increase to 100% to the average passenger? Even over time? My darling wife goes into Melb Central from Macedon each day and she reckons it's waaaay too expensive....despite my disagreement. Maybe if the trains were faster, less crowded (yes, it's standing room only from SCS to Sunbury some days) and punctual, you might be able to sell the fare hikes to Joe Public.

I think our friend ZH posts good stuff generally (an exception may be his views on the VLine usage by Sunbury pax), the issue I have is not content but rather context. I understand that he's probably frustrated by being up to his armpits in foam sometimes but offering up solutions along with the critique can do wonders. Like ZH's post at 03:50 this morning (and what the hell were you doing up at 03:50AM anyway, ZH?)
  railblogger Chief Commissioner

Location: At the back of the train, quitely doing exactly what you'd expect.
With respect to favourtism of roads, and lack of interest in rail?

It's common sense.
ZH836301

So I suppose you're just making an assumption?

I honestly think it's a political issue. I notice that it is not only favouritism of roads over rail, but of regional rail over suburban rail.

But that's a topic for another thread.
  Camster Chief Commissioner

Location: Geelong
Would more people use the bendigo train if 2 PSOs rode every train from southern cross and clarksfield to get it through the western suburbs as i think maybe some ppl dont use the train because they dont feel safe going throught he west??
Chidda Bang

Mate, V/Line trains get pretty chockas, I don't think there is a lack of patronage.
  Camster Chief Commissioner

Location: Geelong
I am one who can remember the "good old days" when you could not use your v/line ticket in Zones 1, 2 and 3 (apart from the section of your line that travelled into the city). It is better these days. If people want people to use PT, you've got to make it affordable. It is still not affordable if 4 adults want to go somewhere, petrol is cheaper.
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
but then again people do have right to voice their opinions/thoughts. After all, this is a discussion board.
railblogger

You wouldn't know it reading this thread!

To enter into a discussion you have to begin with the premise that other people have valid points of view.

When you start with the assumption that "I am right and everyone else is wrong" you have a lecture not a discussion.
  mejhammers1 Chief Commissioner

Michael,

There's no issue with the fact that fares are too cheap. However, I doubt that 100% fare recovery is achievable either practically or politically. Having said that, 25% is unreasonable. How would you sell the fare increase to 100% to the average passenger? Even over time? My darling wife goes into Melb Central from Macedon each day and she reckons it's waaaay too expensive....despite my disagreement. Maybe if the trains were faster, less crowded (yes, it's standing room only from SCS to Sunbury some days) and punctual, you might be able to sell the fare hikes to Joe Public.

I think our friend ZH posts good stuff generally (an exception may be his views on the VLine usage by Sunbury pax), the issue I have is not content but rather context. I understand that he's probably frustrated by being up to his armpits in foam sometimes but offering up solutions along with the critique can do wonders. Like ZH's post at 03:50 this morning (and what the hell were you doing up at 03:50AM anyway, ZH?)
ParkesHub

Parkes Hub

I have never advocated 100% fare recovery, but it should be a damn sight more 25%! 65 to 70% should be more like it. You mention maybe if the trains were faster less crowded. Ahh there is the rub. Yes more and modern trains, up to date signalling, high track speeds, this all costs money.

Michael
  mejhammers1 Chief Commissioner

I am one who can remember the "good old days" when you could not use your v/line ticket in Zones 1, 2 and 3 (apart from the section of your line that travelled into the city). It is better these days. If people want people to use PT, you've got to make it affordable. It is still not affordable if 4 adults want to go somewhere, petrol is cheaper.
Camster

PT is dirt cheap now!. Affordable. No it is the Aussie Disease. Champagne service on a Beer Budget! That's why some clowns are petitioning the Government to make it free.

Michael
  Camster Chief Commissioner

Location: Geelong
PT is dirt cheap now!. Affordable. No it is the Aussie Disease. Champagne service on a Beer Budget! That's why some clowns are petitioning the Government to make it free.

Michael
mejhammers1

I agree it is cheap, but for one person, maybe two. 4 Adults travelling together, Geelong to Melbourne $16 x 4 on PT off peak, or there abouts. 1/2 tank of petrol in a 4 cylinder car $30.
  ZH836301 Chief Commissioner

Location: BleakCity
There's no issue with the fact that fares are too cheap. However, I doubt that 100% fare recovery is achievable either practically or politically. Having said that, 25% is unreasonable. How would you sell the fare increase to 100% to the average passenger? Even over time? My darling wife goes into Melb Central from Macedon each day and she reckons it's waaaay too expensive....despite my disagreement. Maybe if the trains were faster, less crowded (yes, it's standing room only from SCS to Sunbury some days) and punctual, you might be able to sell the fare hikes to Joe Public.
ParkesHub

You could do it progressively (ie. CPI+extra) over many years, or larger chunks alongside improvements - it may take a long time to get near 100%, but it's necessary to enable growth.  The closer you get too the easier it becomes since new projects start becoming more viable, etc.  The hardest step is the first major jump which will require political will.


Shows how painful pork barreling leading to lower fares is too - it's easy to drop the fares but much harder to raise them.


I think our friend ZH posts good stuff generally (an exception may be his views on the VLine usage by Sunbury pax), the issue I have is not content but rather context. I understand that he's probably frustrated by being up to his armpits in foam sometimes but offering up solutions along with the critique can do wonders. Like ZH's post at 03:50 this morning (and what the hell were you doing up at 03:50AM anyway, ZH?)
ParkesHub

Cheers.  If you find me elsewhere, in places that aren't filled with foamy, unjustified ideas, you'll notice my posting style is completely different, since people actually bring ideas to the table that can be debated.  Too many people here just try to post opinions as fact, which is more suited to a twitter than a discussion board.  If I come off arrogant, it's because I put thought into presenting reasoned, logical arguments, so when others try to counter them with thoughtless, completely unjustified opinions rather than facts, it's hard not to be dismissive.


(BTW I'm an insomniac).


So I suppose you're just making an assumption?
railblogger

Correct.  With limited funds, you're pulling money from the general budget to fund PT works (hence far fewer projects) and any major project is going to put a dent in the budget for future years (more services, more cost), whereas roads provides the necessary revenue for continual major works projects, and any increase in operating expenditure due to such projects are usually met by increased revenue due to additional road km.


To enter into a discussion you have to begin with the premise that other people have valid points of view.
Brenton Golding

Present a reasoned, logical case and I may grant you that privilege.


I agree it is cheap, but for one person, maybe two. 4 Adults travelling together, Geelong to Melbourne $16 x 4 on PT off peak, or there abouts. 1/2 tank of petrol in a 4 cylinder car $30.
Camster

Why should PT be cheaper?  A car with 4 people in it beats PT for efficiency - the road journey should be cheaper.


Most trips are done alone, so in any case PT fares should be based on this - there is little benefit trying to remove 4-5 occupancy vehicles from the road in any case.
  Camster Chief Commissioner

Location: Geelong

Why should PT be cheaper? A car with 4 people in it beats PT for efficiency - the road journey should be cheaper.


Most trips are done alone, so in any case PT fares should be based on this - there is little benefit trying to remove 4-5 occupancy vehicles from the road in any case.
ZH836301


I agree. The price of PT is pretty good. I'm not complaining.
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
Present a reasoned, logical case and I may grant you that privilege.
ZH83630

The fact that you even said that it is your privilege made me laugh so hard I almost did something that rhymes with spat.

You should go into politics mate, democracy is almost dead, you would be the final nail in the coffin.
  ZH836301 Chief Commissioner

Location: BleakCity
I couldn't work in politics, nobody likes to hear the truth.
  ParkesHub Chief Commissioner

The fact that you even said that it is your privilege made me laugh so hard I almost did something that rhymes with spat.....
BrentonGolding

I think that was ZH's dry sense of humour going over your head. Dryer than a James Bond martini.
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
RRL needs to go to Sunbury for true separation between Metro trains and V/line trains.

Bendigo line people start lobbing now for a faster track though the outer Suburbs (the land needed for an extra two tracks Is mostly available now)

Government spin states that the two types of trains will be fully separated, but that's not the case.
Nightfire
This week being a bit quiet at work I decided to close and head up to Maldon for a bit of work on the VGR. This gave me a chance to take the 16.57 Bendigo Train out of SC or "The Castlemaine Flyer" as it should be known as it runs express Footscray to the Maine and provides the quickest run on the timetable. It was not full as would be expected at this time of year and I got a seat in the front car with a bunch of regular travellers who all knew each other and were having a great time catching up on all things Summer Holidays. They obviously caught this service regularly from work in the city to home in the Goldfields.

There was plenty to see with 2 grain trains moving though Tottenham yard and we made good time for the first part of the trip on the RRL. I didn't see what happened next but the regular travellers in my carriage did - a couple were straining to look as far forward as they could and caught the tell tail silver and blue flash take the path in front of us. As soon as we crossed over from the RRL to the Sunbury line proper we came to a stop at the first signal. A stopping-all/most-stations Sunbury Spark had got the jump on us.

We crawled all the way to Watergardens, sometimes under yellow and other times stopped at a red signal. After Watergardens we sped up for a short while before grinding to a halt again after the Calder Highway crossing short of Sunbury. Released from the Electric shackles the Vlocity fairly flew the rest of the trip from Sunbury and I arrived in Castlemaine 11 or 12 mins late (which I didn't mind, my trip was not time crucial).

In the end the insanity of the whole thing just made me laugh and I am smiling again now just thinking about it. What sort of a crazed Public Transport system gives priority to a stopping suburban service over a flagship regional express service for a 30km stretch of line?

Of course this is only one example of delays which are happening all the time on the Bendigo line. The RRL may work well for the Ballarat / Geelong lines but for Bendigo services the biggest problem still remains - so called Regianal Fast Rail trains are constantly running late stuck behind other trains.

BG
  Bogong Chief Commissioner

Location: Essendon Aerodrome circa 1980
Interesting story Brenton. The idea of adding a third (express) track from Sunshine to Sunbury is a good one... in theory. But the government and bureaucracy do things differently than the rest of the world does. I foresee a whole heap of problems:

* The bureaucratic fetish for specifying that everything be Gold Plated. This will cause cost blowouts in all sorts of areas.

* The extra costs of moving and recalibrating everything from level crossing barriers to signalling systems. New bridges may be required which can cost tens of millions for a road overbridge.

* The glacial slowness with which public sector supervised projects usually move. This is partly due to the bureaucratic way of doing things; the main priority is following "correct proceedure", which to them is more important  than the whole team working together for an efficient and speedy outcome. It's also partly due to inflexibility,  such as if the kid who opens the mail goes on holiday, no one else can do that work because it's not in their job description.

* Public sector red tape, blue tape and green tape. Even the simplest project has to jump through elaborate bureaucratic, union and environmental hoops that a private project could either avoid or at least do more easily. For example the four metre wide strip of land required for the extra track that adjoins rail tracks that have been used since 1859, will still need a slow, elaborate and insanely expensive environmental assessment to check that the weeds growing on the wasteland are not native weeds. Then the report will need to be published and a series of public meetings scheduled where NIMBYs and the more extreme variety of enviro-mental can object, claiming that a common (albeit native) weevil may be slightly inconvenienced and thus further prolong the process, which also costs a lot of extra money.

For these and lots of other reasons, an apparently simple project to lay an extra track beside an existing rail line will take so long and cost so much that politicians may simply put off the project until "the next electoral cycle"... which in the real world means many decades rather than a few years.
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
Don't get me wrong, I am not advocating the "third line" solution, I was just picking up on Nightfire's point from early in this old thread for a point of reference.

Having said that something needs to be done, the current situation is ridiculous.

BG

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