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Archive for the ‘Transport’ Category

The CFMEU today voted to formally recognise a ban on construction in Union Square in Pyrmont where the NSW Government wants to build a station for the CBD Metro.

This follows an interim ban a few weeks ago preventing the demolition of terraces considered historically important.

The CFMEU and local residents argue the destruction of Union Square isn’t necessary as the station should be located near Star City Casino. Some even argue that the metro itself is a ridiculous proposal and an enormous waste of money.

The metro has caused an enormous amount of trouble for the Government, being derided by the Opposition, The Greens, local councils, residents and transport experts.

It will be interesting to see how the Government responds to this. It could attempt to buy off the CFMEU or decide to use “scab” labour. This of course assumes that the Metro will ever make it to the construction phase, something I highly doubt.

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This afternoon the Premier of NSW informed me that 2009 had the best results in 10 years for trains running on time.

The interesting thing is the definition of “on time” which in 2005 was changed to allow trains arriving within 5 minutes of schedule to be classified as “on time”. A bit weird in my opinion and when you think about the time gaps between peak hour services a 5 minute window makes the whole “We’re on time!” exercise quite pointless.

A more important statistic is the total number of passenger trips – 300 million, up 20 million from last year. The government is of course already planning to deal with this extra demand by buying 626 new train carriages.

They are scheduled to come online at the end of 2010.

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Stewart J was on the money when he tipped former Roads and Traffic Authority and Sydney Metro chief Les Wielinga as head of the new Department of Transport and Infrastructure. The appointment has been confirmed.

Yesterday I wrote:

Politics will, of course, trump service delivery when it comes to appointing the new heads of the departments. I don’t have much faith in a government that appoints someone like Les Wielinga, former Chief of Staff to Treasurer Eric Roozendaal (previously Roads Minister), to head the RTA and then the Sydney Metro Authority, to put the right people in the right places.

A bit of foresight on my part! This was one case where I would have welcomed being wrong.

Yesterday Premier Nathan Rees announced that public transport timetables will finally be co-ordinated between rail, bus and ferry services. A lofty goal that shouldn’t be. I don’t see how appointing someone who’s spent his entire working life in roads, a tenure marred by yet more corruption, is going to help achieve that aim.

Any faint hopes I had about the government taking this reform seriously have been well and truly quashed.

In related news, Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione will head up the new Police and Emergency Services department.

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I’ve often thought that one of the most underrated political stories in NSW is the corruption within RailCorp. It gets a mention every now and then, like today but the sheer level of corruption demands a much more thorough review of how this important government department operates and why it’s continuing to operate in this fashion.

I also find it peculiar that while the Opposition are quick to pin the government on all sorts transport related issues, they don’t make a lot of noise about the way RailCorp functions. Is it because the problems are so pervasive that they know they won’t be able to clean it up? I think it’s an extremely important issue that needs more media and political pressure, especially if we want better transport services. If we can’t sort out bribery and kickbacks in all layers of the rail bureaucracy then you can forget about integrated transport planning or a viable, long-term transport network.

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