Saturday, May 26, 2012

Better value for money Mr Emerson?

QR - Value for Money?
In a response to a rather biased article on Traveston station in the Courier Mail, new Transport Minister Mr Emerson was quoted as saying "the LNP government will ensure spending on the Queensland Rail network will ensure better value for money for taxpayers". Lets look a few ways of improving QR's efficiency:

  • 15 minute off-peak frequencies - the taxpayer is paying for the upkeep of rather a lot of trains that do absolutely nothing for most of the day. Improving off-peak frequencies to every 15 minutes would make for more effective use of trains that the taxpayer is already paying for. The LNP have promised a 15 minute weekday daytime frequency for the Ferny Grove Line, but the introduction date seems to be a state secret. 
  • Driver only operation - Melbourne doesn't have them, Perth doesn't have them, Adelaide doesn't have them, and the vast majority of metro systems don't have them, so why does QR? Suitable guards could be re-trained as drivers for improved off-peak service (see above).
  • Phase 2 timetables - the current timetables for much of the network are a mess. Since the Ferny Grove Line duplication opened in April, there is an out of service train that just sits outside of Mitchelton for ages in the evening peak, and multiple out of service trains that trundle slowly back to the city behind stopping trains. There are plenty of other examples of inefficiency in the current peak timetables. The belated phase 2 timetables will hopefully make for more efficient use of trains and train crew. Unfortunately, the phase 2 timetables are now rumoured to be not happing until after a platform at Sandgate is upgraded in 2013. Inefficient and unattractive peak services continuing all due to one platform! Only in Queensland.
  • Cut the fat - most government organisations have excessive fat that needs to be trimmed. However care needs to be taken to ensure that the fat is cut from the right places. The LNP's current eradication of temporary government servants to save money is turning out to a complete stuff up, with many knowledgable and hard working temporary staff being dumped whilst less useful permanent figures remain.
  • Privatisation - ???
There are plenty of other efficiency savings that can be made with TransLink and SE Queensland's bus system:
  • Fare structure - increasing fares above CPI has been shown to stunt patronage, which has resulted in the taxpayer subsidy percentage remaining stable, and the amount of taxpayer subsidy increasing. A more attractive fare structure that increases patronage could decrease the taxpayer subsidy percentage.
  • Bus network redesign - the current network has many inefficiencies with many historical routes (some based on old tram routes), welfare/social routes, unattractive routes (e.g. rail feeders that stop in early pm peak), routes that compete with train lines, routes with minor variations (often starting from different CBD stops), and a mainly radial network. The bus network needs to be completely reviewed, with the aim being a more efficient and frequent hub and feeder network. This could also make for more efficient use of limited SE Busway capacity. 
  • Stopping Brisbane City Council from introducing the massively resource wasteful Maroon CityGlider. 

1 comment:

  1. Auckland are going to DOO soon(ish) too, with electrification. I expect Wellington will follow not too long after that.

    There seems to be a clear link between guards and mediocrity.


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