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

 
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
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.

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  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
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

It hasn't been looking good for either service for many years. I'm simply amazed, now the standard of accommodation and on-board amenities has dropped to bus standard that the trains are still in operation.

Either needs a complete re-launch of daily services in co-opoeration with a tourism operator as described by the quoted Quilpie Shire councillor and tailored to the tourist market and operating at maximum permissible track speeds or sadly, cancel the operation altogether.

Mike.
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
I cant see why they would look to continue it with these figures.  When you think about how Rex is already subsidised to fly basically the same routes (refer map here), taking out one subsidy may reduce the need for the other.
  bingley hall Minister for Railways

Location: Last train to Skaville
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.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
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.
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
We should always be considering the costs of public services, exactly what those services are and if they are genuinely for the public benefit. Those that provide public benefit (ie not easily allocated to discrete individuals) should be funded publically.

Transport is one of those that is on the grey line given that metro systems reduce urban congestion etc, but I think you could make an argument for these long distance regional services that they are subsidising private travel and are not really for the public benefit.  Why not put them on Rex and kill two subsidies at once freeing up the capital for other things?
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Remembering of course the majority of the population of Queensland resides outside of Brisbane.
  woodford Chief Commissioner

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
Another point is how come its OK to subsidies roads and apparently an air service and NOT to subsidies rail.

An additional point along these lines in Victoria everyone including quite a few on Railpage moaned and groaned about spending 900 million dollars on the Regional Fast Rail project (Note 1) but did not blink an eye when 4 billion dollars was to spent on 10 kilometre extension to the Frankston freeway.

Note 1: Which turned out on the whole to be an excellent investment.

woodford
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
I don't think its a good idea to subsidise any of them.  They should all be recovering their costs and let market competition between the modes sort out who uses what.  Road pricing (both access and congestion tolling) is a must.  

With the right cost allocation and therefore pricing paid by users, you can then make proper investment decisions and allocate the capital to where it will make the best returns.
  Graham4405 The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Dalby Qld
I don't think its a good idea to subsidise any of them.  They should all be recovering their costs and let market competition between the modes sort out who uses what.  Road pricing (both access and congestion tolling) is a must.  

With the right cost allocation and therefore pricing paid by users, you can then make proper investment decisions and allocate the capital to where it will make the best returns.
james.au
Be very, very scared of suggesting that motorists pay the full cost of roads. Have you noticed how big this country is?
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

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

That is incorrect. It is one thing for a PT system to lose money if it is moving huge amounts of people each day and without them it would result in utter kaos. It is another to run a service that only benefits a small amount of people who have a more viable and cheaper alternative available.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

Remembering of course the majority of the population of Queensland resides outside of Brisbane.
bevans
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.
  Graham4405 The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Dalby Qld
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.
simstrain
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
  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.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

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
Graham4405
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.
  PaulM Station Staff

Just for fun, I spent a couple of months this year travelling across Australia's long-distance passenger rail network. I did them all - the Indian Pacific, the Ghan, the Overland, plus those quaint, rattling state-run trains - and was left with a singular impression of QR's offerings.

Basically, passenger rail in Queensland is a social service. The overwhelming majority of those I shared carriages with were either destitute concession card holders or ancient grey pensioners. Neither group pays anything close to the full fare, which in any case comes nowhere near to covering QR's fixed costs. (The full fare, incidentally, is often four or five times more expensive than an equivalent air ticket.)

Returning to Brisbane from Charleville, I was the only person in the whole train. I had two passenger cars and a lounge car, as well as a locomotive and power car (was there a baggage car, too?) for the sole benefit of me. I was also attended by at least three staff members, one of whom was kind enough to toss a couple of sandwiches in my direction, plus presumably a driver or two.

I took sleepers where available, and they weren't bad. But again, I was left with the impression that everything that moves on Queensland's rails is a rusty little metal vampire with fangs deep in the taxpayer's neck.

Don't get me wrong: I have mostly fond memories of my lurching time aboard the Westlander, Spirit of the Outback, Inlander and so on. But I'm sure glad I'm not the one footing the bill for them.

What to do? For starters, I'd suggest euthanising those crappy inland railways and stamping out this orgy of concessions. If Queensland voters really consider it the government's obligation to pay for pensioners' and dole recipients' holiday travel, then buy them bus tickets. The coastal railway has a fighting chance to be competitive, and frankly that's where I'd invest most of the money saved from running empty trains to and from equally empty Outback hamlets.
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
I don't think its a good idea to subsidise any of them.  They should all be recovering their costs and let market competition between the modes sort out who uses what.  Road pricing (both access and congestion tolling) is a must.  

With the right cost allocation and therefore pricing paid by users, you can then make proper investment decisions and allocate the capital to where it will make the best returns.
Be very, very scared of suggesting that motorists pay the full cost of roads. Have you noticed how big this country is?
Graham4405
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.

@simstrain, I agree there is some cost recovery, but it is poorly structured and not reflective of actual use.  There is currently a shortfall in road funding so the current roads are being subsidised to some degree.
  Pressman Spirit of the Vine

Location: Wherever the Tin Chook or Qantas takes me
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
Interesting that one can travel in the 6 star plus Platinum class from Adelaide to Darwin (and v.v) on the privately owned and operated Ghan for $700 less than the subsidy on the Westlander!
And some claim that GSR is ripping people off!
  bingley hall Minister for Railways

Location: Last train to Skaville
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
Some roads are subsidised are some are not.

A bitumised road to outer woop woop is unlikely to carry enough vehicular traffic to justify it's original construction costs and maintenance. Surely in the spirit of fairness and equality we should apply your socialist road funding principles to our rail networks Razz
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
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
So what do you say If the public benefits of the service are so microscopic, are the running costs justified ?
  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.
Some roads are subsidised are some are not.

A bitumised road to outer woop woop is unlikely to carry enough vehicular traffic to justify it's original construction costs and maintenance. Surely in the spirit of fairness and equality we should apply your socialist road funding principles to our rail networks Razz
bingley hall

Aside from the main highways, most roads in outer whoop whoop are not sealed and those that are are normally funded by the local council and not the relevant state authority. These roads are normally funded by council rates.
  Graham4405 The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Dalby Qld
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
The 64% quoted above includes the Brisbane, Logan, Gold Coast, Ipswich, Redland, Moreton and Sunshine Coast LGAs as these are all at least partially served by Brisbane suburban rail services. Toowoomba and Lockyer LGAs are not served by passenger rail services except the twice weekly Westlander. As a resident of the Western Downs LGA I would love to see regular (fast) passenger services to Toowoomba and Brisbane, but it won't happen in my lifetime.
  Graham4405 The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Dalby Qld
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
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 The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Dalby Qld
Aside from the main highways, most roads in outer whoop whoop are not sealed and those that are are normally funded by the local council and not the relevant state authority. These roads are normally funded by council rates.
simstrain


But the point is these roads still have to be funded...

There are four funding types of roads in Australia:
  1. Federally funded roads
  2. State funded roads
  3. Local Authority funded roads
  4. Privately funded roads (mining, gas, etc)


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Road_transport_in_Australia#Costs_and_funding
  bingley hall Minister for Railways

Location: Last train to Skaville
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.
Some roads are subsidised are some are not.

A bitumised road to outer woop woop is unlikely to carry enough vehicular traffic to justify it's original construction costs and maintenance. Surely in the spirit of fairness and equality we should apply your socialist road funding principles to our rail networks Razz

Aside from the main highways, most roads in outer whoop whoop are not sealed and those that are are normally funded by the local council and not the relevant state authority. These roads are normally funded by council rates.
simstrain
Having travelled extensively around Australia by road for almost 40 years I can assure you that the majority of roads in Australia linking towns and villages, no matter how small, are sealed. You must live a very sheltered existence.

Who funds them is irrelevant; if they don't cover their costs they should be ripped up Razz

You obviously need to get out more

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