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I'M UPSET. No, actually, I'm very angry. How come people who don't live in the area and never use it, can tell me my chosen mode of transport is useless and proceed to take it away from me? Yes, I'm talking about the monorail.
I hear, ''It's past its use-by date'' - 2 million rides a year would prove that to be a furphy. ''It's expensive'' - it costs me $2.50 per trip and it draws not a cent from the public purse. Also, if I just miss one, my usual wait time is three minutes, no matter what time of day. How many other public transport users could say that?
''It's in the way'' - how can it be an obstruction when it's off the ground and runs along the opposite side of the road to the Convention and Exhibition Centre, or are they planning to take the road away as well when they redevelop the area? I dread to think what effect that would have on the traffic in the already choked Harris Street.
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''It's not integrated'' - four of the seven stations are linked to at least one other form of transport. ''The pillars get graffitied'' - take them away and the walls will be graffitied instead. Why not use them constructively for street art?
''It doesn't go anywhere'' - again, 2 million rides a year would prove that it goes where locals and tourists want it to go. No, it doesn't go to Circular Quay, but neither does (or will) the light rail. It brings much needed tourism into Darling Harbour and takes locals to the central business district. Why does it need to go anywhere else?
''It's outmoded'' - OK, this I concede, but why not turn that into an advantage, capitalising on the tourist dollar while continuing to provide a much-used and extremely useful service to the local population. It's simple, just rebrand it as the Retro Monorail. Make a feature of its 1980s state-of-the-art look.
Visitors love the monorail. Children love the monorail. Locals use the monorail. Sydneysiders who live miles away from it, don't use it and think it's silly, tell us we can't have it any more. The arguments simply don't stack up.
A few notable people objected to it in the first place and have been waiting a long time to see it fail. It hasn't failed, but they have long memories and bear grudges, and now they're rejoicing with ''I told you so'' grins running across their faces, from one deaf ear to the other.
Come on, Sydney. Be brave. Capitalise on what you have. It doesn't need to be ripped out. How many other tourist attractions have the dual purpose of also providing a much-used service to local residents?
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