Transport Minister refuses to rule out privatising Adelaide trains and trams

 
Topic moved from News by bevans on 15 May 2019 14:29
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
The Met was burning money, passengers and punctuality if they were not on strike.

...
The rest of this was just a blatant troll Shane, why not answer the question of what benefits the people of SA will see from a fully privatised rail and tram network?

Also the single public authority overseen by a board is the way they go in the USA but you have no idea why it supposedly won't work in Australia because you're overtly against any forms of public ownership and operation... I get that. But it's not best practice.
don_dunstan
I never said there will be benefits, I basically said you will never low if you never look and the Minister is entitled to never rule out an option now or in the future. Maybe the govt does a good job, maybe it doesn't. Do you actually know???

I have no issue with what your suggesting, the board protects the govt and keeps them at arms length. But the actual operator may or may not be owned by the govt. I dd say in this day and age, having a govt run a suburban railway directly and deal with day to day operations should be over.

No, I am not against govt owned PT, how can you actually privatise (ie sell the lot) an operation that looses money, but do you need govt management?

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  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE

Metro Trains has been voted the worst run system in the country for the past 8 years.  That says it in spadesSays who?

If you survey the users of Mel rail and the users of Syd rail and users of Brisbane rail, how to they actually compare each other?

Mel suburban rail usage went up something like 50% or more in 20 years, yet ultimately the govt still controls the purse strings for expansion to handle this traffic. The operators just run trains!https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/metro-trains-rated-australias-worst-20110614-1g27t.html

https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/metro-ranked-worst-rail-network-in-australia--again-20160908-grc8pg.html

https://www.sbs.com.au/news/melbourne-metro-worst-rail-in-australia
Dangersdan707
Now go through and remove the aspects that are directly linked with the govt's control, ie capacity, investment etc. Comparing with Adelaide as it did in one of the articles is a joke and destroys the credibility of the survey. Melbourne and Sydney are the two most closely linked and a complete different world to Adelaide, Perth and Brisbane.

Consumer research firm Canstar Blue surveyed 6000 rail users in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Adelaide and Queensland to compare train passenger satisfaction.
As I said above, its hard to do a consumer survey accurately as vast bulk of the consumers cannot compare. Hell I remember seeing articles in Qld a few years back of commuters on the Gold Coast line refering to the GC trains as the Mumbai Express because "some" people didn't get a seat. I grew up on the NSW Central Coast line, I was happy to have the best place to stand where you could sit on the floor comfortably without impacting on others and a good day was to find an abandoned newspaper early on in the trip to read and then later to sit on.

Security, communication and other similar factors are very much within the control of Metro.
  dylan Train Controller

Location: South Australia
A little food for thought, let’s not kid ourselves here. The most common reason an SA Government would want to privatise any of their operations is 1. To rid themselves of a costly loss making venture and/or 2. To raise some quick cash to spend on more popular policies (health and education generally strike the right chord with voters)
This may not necessarily be a bad thing, as the private sector has generally shown itself to be more efficient than government organisations (exceptions abound, but I’m keeping it general here)
The biggest issue that arises though, is when political pressure forces governments to get involved in a private operation.
This may either be due to pushing their own agenda onto the market, forcing profitable operations out of business (the transition to renewable energy on SA is a good example of this) or propping up loss making ventures with a subsidy (think The Overland)
In short, they like to have it both ways, by spending the private sector’s money to deliver a service that will win votes.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
A little food for thought, let’s not kid ourselves here. The most common reason an SA Government would want to privatise any of their operations is 1. To rid themselves of a costly loss making venture and/or 2. To raise some quick cash to spend on more popular policies (health and education generally strike the right chord with voters)
This may not necessarily be a bad thing, as the private sector has generally shown itself to be more efficient than government organisations (exceptions abound, but I’m keeping it general here)
The biggest issue that arises though, is when political pressure forces governments to get involved in a private operation.
This may either be due to pushing their own agenda onto the market, forcing profitable operations out of business (the transition to renewable energy on SA is a good example of this) or propping up loss making ventures with a subsidy (think The Overland)
In short, they like to have it both ways, by spending the private sector’s money to deliver a service that will win votes.
dylan
Your confusing what is realistically being proposed.

As the railway does not make a profit and never will without basically abandoning non-peak hour operation and perhaps the more lightly used sections in peak, its non-scrap value for sale is therefore not even $0, rather a very large negative number. ie the govt would need to pay to sell it.

Typically what happens is the govt invites Operators to run the business for them for which they get paid. There are a number of options here, purely management for which they just get a Management fee, something ARTC does a bit (I think), or Francise where they have more control of the assets and revenue but still funded by the govt.

The Minister was asked to rule out involving any sort of private venture taking over and he rightly said no, but selling would never be on the table unless it was to be closed.
  mawsonboii Locomotive Driver

I can't imagine anyone wanting to "buy" our rail network. it doesn't make any profit.
  Dangersdan707 Chief Commissioner

Location: On a Thing with Internet
I can't imagine anyone wanting to "buy" our rail network. it doesn't make any profit.
mawsonboii
could be franchise agreement like west coast was, AN's Passenger branch was somehow privatised and still is.
  potatoinmymouth Chief Commissioner

No one is proposing “selling” the thing, at least as far as I can tell. If it happened, it would be along the lines of Melbourne: the state owns all the assets, and leases them to the operator. The operator is contracted to a) run the trains and b) maintain the assets, in return for payments from government. Their profits are the difference between what the government pays and what it costs to fulfil their contractual obligations.

That’s rail franchise 101.
  kipioneer Chief Commissioner

Location: Aberfoyle Park
No one is proposing “selling” the thing, at least as far as I can tell. If it happened, it would be along the lines of Melbourne: the state owns all the assets, and leases them to the operator. The operator is contracted to a) run the trains and b) maintain the assets, in return for payments from government. Their profits are the difference between what the government pays and what it costs to fulfil their contractual obligations.

That’s rail franchise 101.
potatoinmymouth
And the state controls fares, and collects the revenue.   The operator acts as an agent to this end.   The services provided by the operator are as negotiated with the government; the operator must meet the minimum service level required, but it could exceed it.

It may be that an operator will miscalculate the cost of running the service and seek to default on the contract.   That has happened with bus services in Adelaide, and, I think, with rail in Melbourne.

Outright sale of smaller rail systems in this part of the world has resulted in both Tasmania and New Zealand renationalising their railways just to keep them, since there is just not the profits in it for a company that needs to made a profit.   Funny that there were similar players in each case Smile.

As far as I can see, there is no particular reason to contract out the service.   There may be a need to introduce management that understands the task for public transport, moving people, rather than running trains, and can communicate that down through the ranks.

The rail services don't need to be sold to do that.
  DJPeters Assistant Commissioner

Yes operating the system for the customers would be great as at the moment it really does not exist it is mainly just someone moving the deck chairs on the Titanic so to speak. When STA was first created back in the 1970's it was mainly all ex MTT personal that had control of it and since they were all bus people they tried to run it as a rail bound bus service of sorts. Since then most of the rail qualified personell have moved on and now you get a rail system that has virtually no rail personal at all it shows as well. Their maintenance section I am told does not even have any qualified and with experience engineers etc of any sort left so they virtually have uni graduates in place that are what most call text book experts running things. Sure it works on paper or a simulation but in reality it might not be so successful.

They need to get a good core staff of rail persons with experience in to run the trains as a service not just an excuse to run trains. Timetables are not the best on rail in places and if some out of the box thinking was applied it could be improved however no one wants to upset the status quo though. This is the office type of bods I am talking about here the staff on the public front could tell them a lot of things to improve if they would only listen.
  justapassenger Chief Commissioner

No one is proposing “selling” the thing, at least as far as I can tell.
potatoinmymouth
Nobody who is anybody is proposing anything as yet.

The review into the system is still ongoing and has not yet produced a report telling the boy wonder what he should do.

As far as I can see, there is no particular reason to contract out the service.   There may be a need to introduce management that understands the task for public transport, moving people, rather than running trains, and can communicate that down through the ranks.

The rail services don't need to be sold to do that.
kipioneer
The prospect of the government attempting to handle that sort of transformation in house would be a very good reason.

Forget about oil tankers (way too nimble), the better comparison for the agility of the SA public service is a rock!

Contracting out operations to an external company with prior passenger rail experience would open the door for bringing in management who will swing the axe and kick some butts. DB Regio would be a good option, as they were the company which managed the transformation of the decrepit Silverlink system into the booming London Overground operation.
  DJPeters Assistant Commissioner

The strong evidence out of Melbourne is that the state will not save a cent. But it will put a layer of accountability between ministers and the performance of the network. And it will go some way to busting unions.
What benefit does union busting provide to society ?
Depending on what sort of union they are?

If like some of the CFEMU and other militant ones and other calling strikes at critical times like Xmas and GP's, alot!
How is Christmas a critical time ?

Isnt Xmas all about going out and buying consumerist gifts for people we dont really like and nothing more ?
Heath Loxton
Just how are you going to get to the CBD etc to buy Xmas presents if the transport union has called a strike. No transport at all, and no being able to get to the shops. Something to think about. And as said militant unions always seem to be able to call a strike when it will hit people the most. In the transport sector how would you like to be going to Adelaide Oval say to see a semifinal AFL game and the transport union called a snap strike on that day and you could not go, taxis and Uber would never cope and driving to the game all of them would create chaos for parking. You as someone said need to remove the blinkers you have on.

Those of us who are older can remember unions calling snap strikes at the drop of a hat almost. You could have two strikes in different industies in the same week sometimes more. Oh and there is also other unions that go out on strike in sympathy with the original strikers.

Christmas, Easter or a long weekend though were all prime times for strikes as it would hit nearly everyone instead of just a few. Not union bashing here just explaining to Heath Loxton that the view out of his Rose Coloured glasses is not what you get.
  Aaron Minister for Railways

Location: University of Adelaide SA
Heath is too young to remember the construction of the Myer Centre in Adelaide - a fine example of how unions can seriously ruin a business. Inflation adjusted $1bn 1991 dollars makes it about the price of the nRAH today.

I have a friend that worked in concrete at the time. If the construction guys thought that they'd done enough of nothing for that day they'd turn away the cement trucks 'Why don't you try coming back tomorrow' except more colourful because, you know, union wanking. Ready to pour concrete is not generally regarded as a non perishable item.

Patrick got it right in 1998 though.
  DJPeters Assistant Commissioner

Now this was a real eye opener for me. In Adelaide you cannot eat or drink on trams, buses or trains. Yes a lot do though. But the rule is there though, but obviously not for State Parliamentarians though, the other day a member of parliament was drinking a can of Diet Coke and eating what looked like a section of something From Subway or similar. Not good enough though in most peoples eyes and to rub salt into the wound just a bit more the poliie was Stephen Knoll the Minister of Transport in South Australia. I know this as he was standing alongside me in the tram a public tram as well not a special one. If only I had, had a camera of some sort I would have taken his photo. Oh and yes I am sure it was him as well, his face is on TV that much of late here anyone would recognise him.
  justapassenger Chief Commissioner

Now this was a real eye opener for me. In Adelaide you cannot eat or drink on trams, buses or trains. Yes a lot do though. But the rule is there though, but obviously not for State Parliamentarians though, the other day a member of parliament was drinking a can of Diet Coke and eating what looked like a section of something From Subway or similar. Not good enough though in most peoples eyes and to rub salt into the wound just a bit more the poliie was Stephen Knoll the Minister of Transport in South Australia. I know this as he was standing alongside me in the tram a public tram as well not a special one. If only I had, had a camera of some sort I would have taken his photo. Oh and yes I am sure it was him as well, his face is on TV that much of late here anyone would recognise him.
DJPeters
I've seen staff eating and drinking on trains plenty of times, so I think that rule was abolished years ago.

I'm no fan of the boy wonder, but surely there's no need for different rules which should apply to him and not to everyone else. This is a very grubby post on your behalf.

There's one minor issue in that it would be a better look if he supported a business which employs South Australians instead of drinking Coca Cola products after the closed down in SA last year - maybe he could switch to Nippys orange juice or a bottle of the nice double shot iced coffee made by the Fleurieu Milk Company.
  Aaron Minister for Railways

Location: University of Adelaide SA
Better yet, if he was photographed on a tram supporting South Australia’s greatest beverage company Coopers’ (the Purple Patch aka XPA I think is in general release on tap now) I might actually vote for them next time.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
No one is proposing “selling” the thing, at least as far as I can tell. If it happened, it would be along the lines of Melbourne: the state owns all the assets, and leases them to the operator. The operator is contracted to a) run the trains and b) maintain the assets, in return for payments from government. Their profits are the difference between what the government pays and what it costs to fulfil their contractual obligations.

That’s rail franchise 101.
And the state controls fares, and collects the revenue.   The operator acts as an agent to this end.   The services provided by the operator are as negotiated with the government; the operator must meet the minimum service level required, but it could exceed it.

It may be that an operator will miscalculate the cost of running the service and seek to default on the contract.   That has happened with bus services in Adelaide, and, I think, with rail in Melbourne.

Outright sale of smaller rail systems in this part of the world has resulted in both Tasmania and New Zealand renationalising their railways just to keep them, since there is just not the profits in it for a company that needs to made a profit.   Funny that there were similar players in each case Smile.

As far as I can see, there is no particular reason to contract out the service.   There may be a need to introduce management that understands the task for public transport, moving people, rather than running trains, and can communicate that down through the ranks.

The rail services don't need to be sold to do that.
kipioneer
By comparing with what happened in Tas and NZ, means you don't understand the explanation by Potatoinmymouth. Those two were complete sale of a commercial asset which primarily faltered when the American buyer sold to PAcNational who didn't do their due diligence.

Trans Adelaide is not a commercial asset and even then there are two different option for the govt for privatisation (of sorts), one is just Management and other is more detailed like Mel.

The only reason the govt should consider going down this path is if they feel they can get a better deal outsourcing and removing the "public servant" culture from the organisation and all the crap that goes with it. While the govt operates it, this maybe hard to achieve, but not impossible.

However at the end of the day the Minister was 100% correct in his comments in that he will not rule out anything that gets the taxpayer and user, a better deal. By stating this he is also sending a strong signal to both Management and union to work together to achieve better results or you're both out.
  kipioneer Chief Commissioner

Location: Aberfoyle Park
No one is proposing “selling” the thing, at least as far as I can tell. If it happened, it would be along the lines of Melbourne: the state owns all the assets, and leases them to the operator. The operator is contracted to a) run the trains and b) maintain the assets, in return for payments from government. Their profits are the difference between what the government pays and what it costs to fulfil their contractual obligations.

That’s rail franchise 101.
And the state controls fares, and collects the revenue.   The operator acts as an agent to this end.   The services provided by the operator are as negotiated with the government; the operator must meet the minimum service level required, but it could exceed it.

It may be that an operator will miscalculate the cost of running the service and seek to default on the contract.   That has happened with bus services in Adelaide, and, I think, with rail in Melbourne.

Outright sale of smaller rail systems in this part of the world has resulted in both Tasmania and New Zealand renationalising their railways just to keep them, since there is just not the profits in it for a company that needs to made a profit.   Funny that there were similar players in each case Smile.

As far as I can see, there is no particular reason to contract out the service.   There may be a need to introduce management that understands the task for public transport, moving people, rather than running trains, and can communicate that down through the ranks.

The rail services don't need to be sold to do that.
By comparing with what happened in Tas and NZ, means you don't understand the explanation by Potatoinmymouth. Those two were complete sale of a commercial asset which primarily faltered when the American buyer sold to PAcNational who didn't do their due diligence.

Trans Adelaide is not a commercial asset and even then there are two different option for the govt for privatisation (of sorts), one is just Management and other is more detailed like Mel.

The only reason the govt should consider going down this path is if they feel they can get a better deal outsourcing and removing the "public servant" culture from the organisation and all the crap that goes with it. While the govt operates it, this maybe hard to achieve, but not impossible.

However at the end of the day the Minister was 100% correct in his comments in that he will not rule out anything that gets the taxpayer and user, a better deal. By stating this he is also sending a strong signal to both Management and union to work together to achieve better results or you're both out.
RTT_Rules
Isn't that what I said?  You even quoted it, but chose to highlight the reference to New Zealand and Tasmania which was to highlight the two worst outcomes of privatisation which left the respective government holding the baby, so to speak.   First the track maintenance, then the whole lot, and the same players, which made it the most risky path for privatisation.

Otherwise I agree with what you have said.

In fact I said

As far as I can see, there is no particular reason to contract out the service. There may be a need to introduce management that understands the task for public transport, moving people, rather than running trains, and can communicate that down through the ranks.
kipioneer

If you can't find someone from within Government to do this you can bring in a manager from the private sector to do this, rather than contract out the service.

Look at it by all means, but if it doesn't bring real benefits then forget it.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
No one is proposing “selling” the thing, at least as far as I can tell. If it happened, it would be along the lines of Melbourne: the state owns all the assets, and leases them to the operator. The operator is contracted to a) run the trains and b) maintain the assets, in return for payments from government. Their profits are the difference between what the government pays and what it costs to fulfil their contractual obligations.

That’s rail franchise 101.
And the state controls fares, and collects the revenue.   The operator acts as an agent to this end.   The services provided by the operator are as negotiated with the government; the operator must meet the minimum service level required, but it could exceed it.

It may be that an operator will miscalculate the cost of running the service and seek to default on the contract.   That has happened with bus services in Adelaide, and, I think, with rail in Melbourne.

Outright sale of smaller rail systems in this part of the world has resulted in both Tasmania and New Zealand renationalising their railways just to keep them, since there is just not the profits in it for a company that needs to made a profit.   Funny that there were similar players in each case Smile.

As far as I can see, there is no particular reason to contract out the service.   There may be a need to introduce management that understands the task for public transport, moving people, rather than running trains, and can communicate that down through the ranks.

The rail services don't need to be sold to do that.
By comparing with what happened in Tas and NZ, means you don't understand the explanation by Potatoinmymouth. Those two were complete sale of a commercial asset which primarily faltered when the American buyer sold to PAcNational who didn't do their due diligence.

Trans Adelaide is not a commercial asset and even then there are two different option for the govt for privatisation (of sorts), one is just Management and other is more detailed like Mel.

The only reason the govt should consider going down this path is if they feel they can get a better deal outsourcing and removing the "public servant" culture from the organisation and all the crap that goes with it. While the govt operates it, this maybe hard to achieve, but not impossible.

However at the end of the day the Minister was 100% correct in his comments in that he will not rule out anything that gets the taxpayer and user, a better deal. By stating this he is also sending a strong signal to both Management and union to work together to achieve better results or you're both out.
Isn't that what I said?  You even quoted it, but chose to highlight the reference to New Zealand and Tasmania which was to highlight the two worst outcomes of privatisation which left the respective government holding the baby, so to speak.   First the track maintenance, then the whole lot, and the same players, which made it the most risky path for privatisation.

Otherwise I agree with what you have said.

In fact I said

As far as I can see, there is no particular reason to contract out the service. There may be a need to introduce management that understands the task for public transport, moving people, rather than running trains, and can communicate that down through the ranks.

If you can't find someone from within Government to do this you can bring in a manager from the private sector to do this, rather than contract out the service.

Look at it by all means, but if it doesn't bring real benefits then forget it.
kipioneer
Mmmm, agree. I think first time I mis-understood where you were coming from, don't ask me why.
  DJPeters Assistant Commissioner

Now this was a real eye opener for me. In Adelaide you cannot eat or drink on trams, buses or trains. Yes a lot do though. But the rule is there though, but obviously not for State Parliamentarians though, the other day a member of parliament was drinking a can of Diet Coke and eating what looked like a section of something From Subway or similar. Not good enough though in most peoples eyes and to rub salt into the wound just a bit more the poliie was Stephen Knoll the Minister of Transport in South Australia. I know this as he was standing alongside me in the tram a public tram as well not a special one. If only I had, had a camera of some sort I would have taken his photo. Oh and yes I am sure it was him as well, his face is on TV that much of late here anyone would recognise him.
I've seen staff eating and drinking on trains plenty of times, so I think that rule was abolished years ago.

I'm no fan of the boy wonder, but surely there's no need for different rules which should apply to him and not to everyone else. This is a very grubby post on your behalf.

There's one minor issue in that it would be a better look if he supported a business which employs South Australians instead of drinking Coca Cola products after the closed down in SA last year - maybe he could switch to Nippys orange juice or a bottle of the nice double shot iced coffee made by the Fleurieu Milk Company.
justapassenger
This rule has not been abolished and eating or drinking is forbidden on public transport in SA, so what is so grubby about telling the truth, no one wants to hear the truth anymore it is like a epidemic. Scroll down on this page and you can see it in print. Click on the section What can I bring on board.

https://www.adelaidemetro.com.au/FAQs/
  justapassenger Chief Commissioner

For the removal of doubt, I decided to look up the actual legislation, which is found on the legislation.sa.gov.au website and not the Adelaide Metro website.

95 A person must not consume food or drink in a public passenger vehicle after being requested not to do so by an authorised person.
Passenger Transport Regulations 2009
Now I doubt that the boy wonder would have continued after having been asked to stop, so no offence committed.

There is no amendment history for r95 since the Regulations were introduced on 1 September 2009, indicating that there has been no absolute prohibition for nearly ten years now.

Unfortunately for Aaron, the rule for consuming alcohol is very different:

94 A person must not—
(a) consume alcohol in a public passenger vehicle; or
(b) carry alcohol in an open container in a public passenger vehicle,
without the express permission of the operator.
Passenger Transport Regulations 2009
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE


94 A person must not—
(a) consume alcohol in a public passenger vehicle; or
(b) carry alcohol in an open container in a public passenger vehicle,
without the express permission of the operator.
justapassenger
I like the way they leave it open that potentially you can drink alcohol, you just need to get permission first. This may make some sense had it been written in 1950, but 2009?

I wonder if anyone has ever written to the Minister to ask for permission, worth a shot.
  potatoinmymouth Chief Commissioner



94 A person must not—
(a) consume alcohol in a public passenger vehicle; or
(b) carry alcohol in an open container in a public passenger vehicle,
without the express permission of the operator.
I like the way they leave it open that potentially you can drink alcohol, you just need to get permission first. This may make some sense had it been written in 1950, but 2009?

I wonder if anyone has ever written to the Minister to ask for permission, worth a shot.
RTT_Rules
I suspect it was thus drafted so operators like Great Southern Rail can explicitly allow the sale and consumption of alcohol on board.
  justapassenger Chief Commissioner

I suspect it was thus drafted so operators like Great Southern Rail can explicitly allow the sale and consumption of alcohol on board.
potatoinmymouth
Great Southern Rail is not subject to these regulations.
  Gayspie Assistant Commissioner

Location: Adelaide, SA
Yes Heath, your parents go out and buy you Christmas presents because they don’t like you.

I think your confusion results from potentially your own experience of you going out and buying presents for people you like, to discover they actually do not like you.
Aaron

No, Aaron that is not true at all.

I never buy anyone presents, no friends, no parents, no nobody, as i am actually against the mindless wasteful consumerism that is Christmas time. What i meant is that i deplore the primary focus of Christmas being on rampant commercialism.
  DJPeters Assistant Commissioner

Yes Heath, your parents go out and buy you Christmas presents because they don’t like you.

I think your confusion results from potentially your own experience of you going out and buying presents for people you like, to discover they actually do not like you.

No, Aaron that is not true at all.

I never buy anyone presents, no friends, no parents, no nobody, as i am actually against the mindless wasteful consumerism that is Christmas time. What i meant is that i deplore the primary focus of Christmas being on rampant commercialism.
Heath Loxton
You sound a lot like Ebenezer Scrooge, Heath "Christmas, bah humbug".Laughing

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