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A SUGAR-coated "free" day for the chaos that brought Melbourne's rail system to a standstill is not enough.
The same sweetener has been doled out to train travellers before.
But still the chaos continues. Melbourne's train "service" has become a disservice to a long-suffering public.
Even the phrase long-suffering public has become a cliche. Train operator Metro and the Victorian Government must move decisively to overhaul a system that dates back 80 years to when the network was electrified.
Yesterday's collapse came after a single overhead wire snapped between the Flinders St and Southern Cross stations.
Train travellers were stranded, thousands waiting on platforms for trains that did not come, and others stuck in crowded carriages on the city loop. Roads became gridlocked as people tried to get to work in their cars.
An apology by Public Transport Minister Martin Pakula falls far short of reimbursing 400,000 train travellers for the inconvenience they suffered. So does a so-called free ride. There is nothing free about it when you have already paid for a ticket that doesn't take you anywhere.
How do you compensate industry for millions of dollars in lost productivity because people couldn't get to work?
The Government's promises to fix one of the world's worst public transport systems have long fallen on deaf ears.
The state of the rail system would be laughable if it were not so serious. Yet more cliches.
People have come to expect not a train service that gets them to work on time, but one that usually doesn't as they stand fuming and frustrated.
Successive governments and transport contractors have for too long followed a policy of patch-up.
When people buy a ticket they need to be confident there will be a train to take them where they want to go.
They don't want to be told what went wrong with the train system yesterday, or the week or the months before that.
They don't want to be told the train operator has been fined another $1 million.
What train travellers want is to be guaranteed they will get what they are paying for.
Is that too much to ask, Mr Pakula?
If there were more than a few short months to the election, the question might have to be put to yet another transport minister.
But Premier Brumby has run out of time and ministers and it is his Government that is on the line.
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