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On May 30, Sydney Metro announced that a multi-million-dollar contract was awarded to a construction consortium to continue replacing and rerouting the T3 Bankstown Line, which involves new tracks, stations and driverless trains.
However, opponents say an upgrade is unnecessary and that the purpose of the Metro line is to encourage more property development, including multiple high-rise apartment blocks, around the new stations. They believe it will also expand privatisation of public transport, emphasising that replacing Sydney’s double-decker trains with single-deckers will increase passenger congestion.
History: In 2010, the Labor-run NSW Government investigated funding an extension of the passenger rail system from Epping to Hills District. However, they lost the 2011 state election and the new Liberal Party Transport Minister, Gladys Berejiklian – now Premier of NSW – altered the plan. She instead opted for a privatised cross-city rail service, utilising single-deck driverless trains. Independent of the existing network of driver-operated double decker trains, it was rebranded as the Sydney Metro.
The fully-automated Metro rail network includes two sections: Sydney Metro Northwest, consisting of 13 stations and functional since May 26, and Sydney Metro City and South West, a further 18 stations, still under construction.
When complete in 2024, it will deliver 31 new or modified stations, with the line running from the Hills District in Sydney’s north-western region, southwards through Chatswood and beneath Sydney Harbour, then, via new underground stations in the CBD, on to Bankstown in the south west.
A third line, Sydney Metro West, consisting of a connecting link between the CBD and Westmead near Parramatta, was announced in November 2016 and approved by the NSW Government in June 2018. Consisting of up to 10 stations, which may include Pyrmont, Kings Bay, North Burwood or Five Dock, and Camellia or Rydalmere, Concord West or North Strathfield, depending on the route taken, construction is expected to start in 2022.
Rail operator bans LGBT adverts
The completed stage one, the $7 billion Metro Northwest, is the city’s first privately-operated suburban line, managed by Hong Kong’s MTR Corporation. MTR – ‘Mass Transit Railway’ – is a major public transport network company serving Hong Kong and expanding into Lantau Island and the southern tip of mainland China.
MTR’s Chinese rail network is one of the most profitable metro systems in the world with a ‘farebox recovery ratio’ of 187 percent – the fraction of operating expenses covered by revenue from passenger fares.
MTR has faced criticism and fines in Hong Kong over its felling of trees in environmentally-sensitive areas during expansion works. However, the biggest controversy came this year, concerning its attitude to the Gay and Lesbian community.
The South China Morning Post reported on May 20 that MTR Corporation refused to display an airline company advertisement featuring two barefoot men in suits holding hands, with the words ‘Move Beyond Labels’.
According to the Post, “The advert, which showed two men strolling hand in hand along a beach, was part of a broader Cathay Pacific Airways rebranding campaign called Move Beyond and was intended to highlight the airline’s attitude to diversity.”
This article first appeared on www.altmedia.net.au
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