Rural rail subsidised by up to $4,000 a trip, prompting overhaul call

 
  Big J Deputy Commissioner

Location: In Paradise
Cr MacKenzie seems to be on crack or some other substance.

The Libs (or whatever they are in Qld)  had their opportunity to pull the pin on these services, but bottled it.
bingley hall
They are called the LNP (Liberal National Party). In Queensland the Nationals are the dominate partner unlike the other states. The Libs within the LNP would want to have kill it off, but the Nats would have said no.The agri-socialists were not going to kill the country passenger services as they fear the re-emergence of the One Nation, Kapper and other minor parties eroding their territory, on the perception of providing services to the rural parts of the state.

They wanted to leave this move to ALP so they can blame them.

Another example is the Asset sales that included QRN. I would imagine most Libs would have love to have done it, but the Nats wanted to retain control of rail, for rural services such as cattle and grain. ALP did it and then copped the blame with a very good campaign by the LNP saying (rightly or wrongly depending on your view) how terrible it was.

So you had the unusual circumstance where Abbott/Hockey were giving additional money for states privatising assets for infrastructure. Due to the political baggage of asset sales Newman (LNP) couldn't. Whereas other Lib states couldn't get enough of it.

Qld politics is unique.

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  Big J Deputy Commissioner

Location: In Paradise
Remembering of course the majority of the population of Queensland resides outside of Brisbane.
Most of the rest of that population don't live that far from Brisbane. Between Brisbane and the Gold coast you have atleast 2/3's of the population.
If you include all LGAs that suburban rail runs in you get about 64%. Even so there is still a sizable population not served by rail in any meaningful way.
http://www.qgso.qld.gov.au/products/tables/erp-lga-qld/index.php?region=brisbane
The sunshine coast and Toowoomba aren't that far away and QLD is more widespread because it has a longer coast line to spread along.
simstrain
LOL, come up and visit us. Qld has the most decentralised population in Australia. So its ok to disregard the remaining 1/3 that live along the coast and out to Mt Isa?

It is for that reason that politics in Queensland is less Capital City focused compared to your fair state. For that reason funding does get spent outside of SEQ.

You are right that Sunshine Coast is now commuting distance for many people. However not Toowoomba.In Queensland we laugh at you poor souls that think having a choice of commuting 4 hours a day or living on top your neighbours is acceptable. SEQ is slowly going in that direction, but many do live and work outside of there so that we don't have that terrible choice.
  Big J Deputy Commissioner

Location: In Paradise
Roads are not subsidised. Think about everything that motorists pay in fuel excise, gst on fuel, registration, insurance, tolls, parking and other associated costs. A significant portion of those taxes you talk about come from motorists. Certainly a significant amount more then comes from train travel. This is why passenger train travel does need to make sense.
simstrain
Umm the answer to that is no. Simply an incorrect assumption, I agree with the other answers provided on this.
  Big J Deputy Commissioner

Location: In Paradise
I won't be scared!  Its will be for the best.  Indeed, the motoring groups are all for it because modelling has shown that ordinary motorists would be quite well off with road pricing, given the fuel excise and other charges mentioned are greater than a road price might be.  It will be heavy vehicles that end up paying more.


james.au
Out of curiosity what did the modelling show for people living in regional Australia, like my circumstance living 1000km away from the capital city at a regional city.

Who will pay for the heavy vehicles frieght costs? I suspect that Linfox, Japan Post (owner of Toll) won't absorb that for its shareholders??? I suspect people like me living at these locations will pay. So is the idea by economic rationalists is to make the public move to the metros and that way we can get rid of the roads as no one will drive on those long roads in this land?

At least it will stop those pesky grey nomads roaming on the A1 holding everyone up as they wont be there nor anyone being behind them.


Sorry tongue in cheek. I do understand the economic model for a KM basis, but I doubt it will be introduced. The Nats will have the biggest dummy spit, you see that everytime that there is a mere mention of some potential reform of the fuel excise.

I would also doubt the ALP would, as they need to win key regional seats and retain them as their inner city vote is being eroded by the Greens. However that could change if the Greens continue to erode that and finally force them in some marriage and we all saw what happen with Carbon tax.
  Big J Deputy Commissioner

Location: In Paradise
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-07-28/rural-passenger-train-travel-westlander-inlander-subsidies/7667352

Doesn't look good for the Westlander or Inlander.
james.au
Back on the OP. A real shame I had the pleasure of traveling in my youth moving from Brisbane to Mt Isa using the Sunlander (remember that train) and the Inlander. A two and half day journey.

The Inlander opened my eyes to what I would experience out at the Isa. A very fond memory playing euchre with guys from Doomagee (I never of the place up until then) and ringers. Never met people before from those backgrounds up until then.

Things change like cheaper air travel, however I do fear that once the energy glut starts to dissipate that airfares will start to rise again and as a community we will go where are the alternatives.......like the train?

Yep fond memories of the trains at the Isa and the 'curry.
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
Out of curiosity what did the modelling show for people living in regional Australia, like my circumstance living 1000km away from the capital city at a regional city.

Who will pay for the heavy vehicles frieght costs? I suspect that Linfox, Japan Post (owner of Toll) won't absorb that for its shareholders??? I suspect people like me living at these locations will pay. So is the idea by economic rationalists is to make the public move to the metros and that way we can get rid of the roads as no one will drive on those long roads in this land?

At least it will stop those pesky grey nomads roaming on the A1 holding everyone up as they wont be there nor anyone being behind them.


Sorry tongue in cheek. I do understand the economic model for a KM basis, but I doubt it will be introduced. The Nats will have the biggest dummy spit, you see that everytime that there is a mere mention of some potential reform of the fuel excise.

I would also doubt the ALP would, as they need to win key regional seats and retain them as their inner city vote is being eroded by the Greens. However that could change if the Greens continue to erode that and finally force them in some marriage and we all saw what happen with Carbon tax.
Big J

Here is the link to the report I am seeing the results of the modelling.

http://www.infrastructure.org.au/Content/RoadPricing.aspx

Click on the little blue link at the bottom of the short paragraph.

Refer to page 9 of the doc - User Benefits.  There is more analysis on page 55.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

Roads are not subsidised. Think about everything that motorists pay in fuel excise, gst on fuel, registration, insurance, tolls, parking and other associated costs. A significant portion of those taxes you talk about come from motorists. Certainly a significant amount more then comes from train travel. This is why passenger train travel does need to make sense.
The GST on fuel does not go to roads, at least not directly. Motor Vehicle insurance does not fund roads, nor do parking charges (again, at least not directly). Road travel is not user pays in that you pay for the building and maintenance of the roads you drive on. Significantly, the full cost of road damage caused by heavy haulage transport is not recouped from the haulage companies.
Graham4405

No, but the road user still has to pay these items to own a car. So why do people think it is ok to continue to slug the road user when the public transport user has a substantially cheap fare. In cities it makes sense because you don't want everybody driving into the city or else it would come to a stand still, but in regional areas where the only people using these regional train services are pensioners who get 2 free trips a year. It makes no sense to continue these services when there are more viable alternatives.

I would also say to bingley hall that my ideas are not socialist but capitalist and it is his idea to provide rail transport to everyone, regardless of the cost that is socialist.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

By whoop whoop do you mean the outskirts of cities or actual back of whoop whoop way out in country areas where there are lots of unsealed roads.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
When are we going to stop driving into the costs of running public services?  It is a public service they are not designed to make money or cover costs.  They are paid for in taxes.
bevans
Spoken like a true Communist who forgets that Communism and Socialism basically went broke!

Cost is ALWAYS a factor in providing govt and private sector services.

And no, the bulk of Qld's live in the SE corner and apart from the coastal strip to Rockhampton and the cities of Mackay/Prospine, T'ville and Carins, the states population is very low and thinly spread out.

Estimated total cost Estimated passengers Subsidy per passenger
Spirit
of Qld
$71m 112,460 $632
$21m 12,189 $1,724
$31.5m 133,099 $237
$15.9m 47,237 $338
Westlander $14.7m 3,677 $4,007
Inlander $15.5m 3,677 $3,436
Gulflander $1.2m 1,907 $641
Going by these numbers, something needs to be done and done urgently. $30m a year is unreasonable for this sort of number and probably over estimated.

The 15min all day timetable on the Ferny Grove line cost $2m for 18mths (if I recall) and the numbers benefits would have been 1000 x

Up until 3 years ago, they had sleepers and dinning cars and the numbers were still bad, so returning these services would probably be a waste of taxpayers money. QR/QT/QG have had their chance and failed.

However the train buff in me says the govt should explore other options and that would simply offer to any private operator the same subsidy for 5 years with no restrictions on timetable, frequency or stops and even required to run to the respective termini. After 5 years they must demonstrate a reduction in subsidy by 20% per passenger or no overall increase in subsidy costs if the passenger numbers have increased. If this cannot be done, they get a 1 year farewell closure notification period.  

And for the record, GST on fuel, Fed govt fuel levy and rego costs collectively more than cover the cost of the Australian road system. The question is does the truck industry?
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
GST is a general tax and we should not be taking it into account when thinking about cost recovery of roads.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

GST is a general tax and we should not be taking it into account when thinking about cost recovery of roads.
james.au

That is wrong. The only reason why you say this is because GST paid by road vehicles would significantly dwarf what the public transport sector pays. Using tax payer money to build new track and maintain existing track is something that should be done but the huge subsidies for passenger rail in this country need to be bought into line. No other industry continually loses this sort of money and continues to survive.
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
No, GST shouldn't be included.  Include GST and then you have to start including income tax.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Doesn't matter, the road network is basically self funded with or without the GST.
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
Ill track down some figures in the morning RTT.  It is not, and the roads deficit is widening, putting pressure on general revenues.  With increased fuel efficiency, no indexation of the excise and other factors, the amount of funding raised from these indirect means is in decline.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Ill track down some figures in the morning RTT.  It is not, and the roads deficit is widening, putting pressure on general revenues.  With increased fuel efficiency, no indexation of the excise and other factors, the amount of funding raised from these indirect means is in decline.
james.au
Looking forward to it as the numbers shown to me show a positive cash flow.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

No, GST shouldn't be included.  Include GST and then you have to start including income tax.
james.au

That is not the case at all. Income tax is based on a persons income. GST is from the sale of a product and so is directly related to money paid at the petrol station for fuel.

If you discount GST on petrol then you need to discount GST on the passenger rail networks. GST is the only form of tax paid by passenger rail networks in this country because they certainly don't pay any company tax because they lose so much money that they have a negative return.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Its doesn't matter about GST or road funding and completely irrelevant to the argument in the OP, the fact is these two trains operate at a subsidy per passenger that is close to if not more expensive that a charter flight to the nearest public landing strip with bus connection. A Limo from Brisbane would be a fraction of the price.

This is not public transport as the public are not using them and there is clearly little interest in any service by the public.

Trains carrying more staff than people, seriously why are we the taxpayer forced to put up with this?

The little tourism that heads out this way is road based.
  Bogong Chief Commissioner

Location: Essendon Aerodrome circa 1980
Clearly, this level of subsidy is absurd.

To put it another way, they could replace the train with a bus AND throw in a return trip to London (or anywhere else in Europe) with a few nights accommodation, for a LOWER subsidy per passenger than they are paying now.
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
Clearly, this level of subsidy is absurd.

To put it another way, they could replace the train with a bus AND throw in a return trip to London (or anywhere else in Europe) with a few nights accommodation, for a LOWER subsidy per passenger than they are paying now.
Bogong
The bus would hardly need to be any more than a mini van !
  Graham4405 The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Dalby Qld
The bus would hardly need to be any more than a mini van !
Nightfire


I once travelled from Dalby Qld to Grafton NSW with a group of people in a 12 seater Toyota Coaster bus. I think riding a pushbike would have been more comfortable!

I'd take a train over a bus any day if it was available. You can't begin to compare the comfort levels.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

The bus would hardly need to be any more than a mini van !


I once travelled from Dalby Qld to Grafton NSW with a group of people in a 12 seater Toyota Coaster bus. I think riding a pushbike would have been more comfortable!

I'd take a train over a bus any day if it was available. You can't begin to compare the comfort levels.
Graham4405

Why should the government put on a train just for you and a few other passengers. Whether or not the train is more comfortable is irrelevant if the cost per passenger is the same as a return trip to Europe by plane and a coach is a fraction of that cost.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
The bus would hardly need to be any more than a mini van !


I once travelled from Dalby Qld to Grafton NSW with a group of people in a 12 seater Toyota Coaster bus. I think riding a pushbike would have been more comfortable!

I'd take a train over a bus any day if it was available. You can't begin to compare the comfort levels.
Graham4405
Like blaming Boeing for your tight seat spacing on a low cost carrier.

The typical seating on a Coaster is designed for high capacity loading, trains can also be fitted the same. I've been on buses where every 2nd row of seats were removed to improve comfort levels.
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

Interesting how everyone is quick to criticise the cost of rural rail, but not the cost commuter rail. Sydney's City Trains passenger revenue makes up only 40% of its operating costs. The NSW government has to pay $8.80 to City Rail for each of the 281-million passengers it carries. Cost recovery of QR's commuter services is probably similar, but is harder to find in its financial reports since it makes a $220-million operating profit thanks to the track access fees it charges.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Interesting how everyone is quick to criticise the cost of rural rail, but not the cost commuter rail. Sydney's City Trains passenger revenue makes up only 40% of its operating costs. The NSW government has to pay $8.80 to City Rail for each of the 281-million passengers it carries. Cost recovery of QR's commuter services is probably similar, but is harder to find in its financial reports since it makes a $220-million operating profit thanks to the track access fees it charges.
Sulla1
No not all, just being practical.

Sydney trains subsidy is around 35%,  Brisbane 25%

The two trains that were the target of the bulk of the concern was the Inlander and Westlander which using some published fares and the numbers above have a subsidy exceeding 90 and likely 95%.

Commuter trains are a cost avoidance, improve pollution, improve safety and improve the livability of the city. ie reduce the need for very expensive roads to carry the numbers and prevent these scars dividing suburbia.

A CTT/XPT running up and down the coast may not have the same impact overall, but it does at least get mostly filled! The West and Inlanders are at times running with less people than the train staff. i.e. using 300t of train and 5 staff to move a hand full of people. The fares probably don't even cover the fuel bill and there is no chance its better for the environment. How does this make sense?
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Understandable there is resistance to closing yet another regional passenger train(s), so what could be done with the same money and move more people and hence increase fares and reduce subsidy. Westlander for example, you could run a daily return to Toowoomba, leave 9am, return 6pm.

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