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John Brumby's self-congratulatory mantra is that under his government, Victoria is a great place to live, work and raise a family.
Not yesterday it wasn't.
Yesterday was an embarrassment for Victoria's capital, which markets itself as one of the world's most liveable cities.
It was an irritation - at the very least - for hundreds of thousands of commuters, not just on the trains but the roads too as people realised the public transport system had failed them and they tried their luck in their cars.
More than that, yesterday was a political disaster for an ageing government that faces an election in November.
Much of the anger and frustration evident across Melbourne yesterday will be directed at Brumby.
Metro might be a new operator of the Melbourne train system, but when it comes to public transport, the buck stops with the government. Brumby's prospects at the state election are inextricably linked to Metro's performance.
Under-investment in the public transport system goes back decades and crosses party lines. Brumby claims, with justification, that since he became Premier three years ago, the government has lifted its game. But it is self-evident that not enough has been done.
The Premier placed a lot of store on the arrival of a new operator and, almost simultaneously, a new public transport minister (rising Labor star Martin Pakula replacing the dispirited Lynne Kosky).
Typically, Brumby oversold the change. He said commuters would notice improvements from ''day one'' under Metro. He was wrong.
Yesterday, he acknowledged it had had a ''pretty average'' start. Many Melburnians were using much sharper language.
The government's problems were exacerbated by another display of Brumby's ''tin ear''.
Commuters waiting at train stations or stuck in traffic might have appreciated a straightforward apology from their Premier, along with some sympathy and empathy.
What they got was Brumby on morning radio defending his government - ''We are spending record amounts of money on maintenance'' - and Metro - ''They are a very good transport operators; I've seen what they do in Hong Kong.''
For Brumby, time is running tight. The government is 11 years old. The election is only four months away. He can ill afford more chaotic displays of his public transport system's inadequacies.
Source: The Age
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