Plenty Road track maintenance
Read 17-minute stories and join #onboardbookclub
E-Class trams on Route 11 & new passenger info displays - all part of improving Melbourne’s tram network
Infrastructure Tasmania boss Allan Garcia considers new bridge and light rail projects
Nalder finds light rail ‘unviable’
New East Brunswick tram terminus being built in second phase of Route 96 upgrade
Prime Minister Tony Abbott uses ACT light rail project as example of how to fund public transport
Man injured while working on light rail network in Sydney's CBD
Fuel cell tram framework agreement
Adelaide tram drivers to stop work
21 years ago, August 29, 1999, Victoria's trains and Melbourne's trams were franchised to international operators. It took over two years to happen after it was announced in 1997. Then the PTC was dismantled and the trains and trams split into separate business units in preparation for franchising. As a precursor Met Buses were franchised out a few years previously in two tranches.
National Express was the biggest operator, taking over V/Line, Bayside Trains and Swanston Trams.
The other half of of metropolitan trains was Connex while the other half of the trams was Yarra Trams.
I won't go into too much detail but will leave you with these links and accounts.
Archived Connex website https://web.archive.org/web/20040601000000*/connexmelbourne.com.au
Hillside Trains website before that (still going!) http://www.buslines.com.au/hillsidetrains/index2.html
Web history of public transport in Melbourne https://melbourneontransit.blogspot.com/2020/05/a-tangled-web-internet-history-of.html
Histories and accounts
My item on the National Express pull-out
PTUA history of it https://www.ptua.org.au/campaigns/govern/priv-1999/
Paul Mees' screed on how privatisation didn't deliver the hoped for benefits. https://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/images/stories/documents/council/Select_Committees/Trains/Submissions/SCTS_18_Att_3.pdf
Institute of Public Affairs thing on how it did https://ipa.org.au/wp-content/uploads/archive/1179188058_document_allsop_transport.pdf
Favourable account of privatisation from one of those behind it http://press-files.anu.edu.au/downloads/press/p89991/pdf/9-3-A-4.pdf
Analysis by Prof Graeme Hodge https://www.smh.com.au/national/the-buck-stops-here-20090901-f6ym.html
School of Government case study from the early years https://www.anzsog.edu.au/preview-documents/case-study-level-1/49-privatisation-of-melbourne-public-transport-the-a-2004-3-1/file
Support from minister Lynne Kosky for privatisation https://www.smh.com.au/national/kosky-stands-by-privatised-trains-20090123-7ors.html
Overall the above is much ado about nothing. There are bad public systems and there are good public systems. There are good private systems and bad private systems. Other matters, such as planning, oversight, maintenance and overall funding are more important determinants of whether a system is good.
However some aspects of it in Melbourne were clearly botched, particularly the operational splitting of the network (with initially incompatible trains being ordered), the highly fragmented information and the ever-changing branding that wasted everyone's time. Not to mention the original contracts that were based on financial moonshine due to a mixture of greed and wishful thinking by both parties. These rewarded conniving carpetbagging managers, consultants and lawyers who made a motza while being personally unaccountable for bad advice, decisions or judgment.
Recordings from National Express managers
Hear from National Express managers here in these staff videos.
You might enjoy these well-regarded books on transport topics
Better Buses, Better Cities: How to Plan, Run, and Win the Fight for Effective Transit
Steven Higashide The Public City: Essays in honour of Paul Mees
Jarrett WalkerTransport for Suburbia: Beyond the Automobile Age Paul Mees
(Sales links: I get a small commission if you buy via the above - no extra cost to you)
This item was written by Peter Parker http://www.melbourneontransit.blogspot.com
This article first appeared on melbourneontransit.blogspot.com
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