A new year, another year of Connex bashing.

So we usher in the new year with much aplomb and glee. But we lie to ourselves. Deep within ourselves we know that 2008 also means another year of putting up with a public transport system that has broken her water many years before John Howard lost his favour with Australians.

The ban on bikes and unnecessary fare increase smacks of desperation and it’s proof – despite the many refutes made by the state government – that Connex has long overlived her stay in Victoria.

What good is banning bicycles from V/Line or all Zone 1 lines during peak hour? As a regular peak-hour commuter, I could count the number of bicycle users on one hand in a week. Simply said, why would the Connex passenger be in the train when he has a bicycle? And all this talk about reducing carbon emissions. No wonder Melburnians are driven to, pardon the pun, drive instead.

I’ve just returned from a wonderful and relaxed five day trip in Sydney with my missus. During this time the only form of transportation we both took was trains, run by CityRail.

Now I won’t say that I’m an expert on public transportation, trains or city planning. But any Melburnians who’s worth his/her salt will – at one look at CityRail’s trains – grudgingly agree that what Connex needs to do is not buy more worthless Comeng trains that stall when a) the air-conditioning fails to work, b) won’t work due to excessive rain and flooding of train lines, c) subject passengers to various degrees of fear and danger, or d) all of the above, but purchase double-storey trains that CityRail currently possesses.

Also, I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying the friendly and personable service offered by the CityRail staff as every other train cabin is staffed by a physical being, not a mindless camera that only operates when the button is pressed.

I daresay CityRail has a bigger challenge ahead as the Sydney network is absolutely massive, and much more complicated than Melbourne’s. Yet, I spy with my little eye an ambition that intends to include the city of Newcastle as part of the CityRail network. And all this while constantly improving their services.

Perhaps I write this with a CityRail slant, and I might not be privy to a fare increase, a ban on the wonderful bicycle or things that go on in Sydney, but five days was all I needed to make an educated observation that Connex could learn a thing or two from CityRail.

Connex needs less fat corporates sitting on their asses who earn in the big bucks and drive around in their 4WD, and more pragmatic professionals who actually take their fucking shitty form of anachronism they proudly call Connex Melbourne Trains.

8 Comments so far

  1. alex (unregistered) on January 3rd, 2008 @ 10:08 am

    I think M>Train looked at introducing double-story trains in Melbourne but it wasn’t feasible due to too many low bridges that would need to be modified.

  2. Anna (unregistered) on January 4th, 2008 @ 12:39 am

    I’ve just moved from Sydney and there are just SO many things wrong with the Sydney train system! To name a few:

    Those double-decker trains use about 3 times as much energy to run with only about a 20% increase in capacity. The Sydney rail network is so convoluted and so tied together that one delay anywhere has a ripple effect throughout the whole system (no kidding – they are currently trying to untangle the thing). CityRail has recently *reduced* services and redefined the meaning of “on time” as a response to poor performance metrics.

    Melbourne may have problems, but Sydney is not a model train network, I’m afraid.

  3. Pol x (unregistered) on January 5th, 2008 @ 12:29 am

    Egads! banning the bike from connex trains what a miraculously stupid idea.

    I used to get the frankston line into Flinders street with my mangy old push iron and then cycle to the far side off the city for my work.

    Removing the right to take the bike would have screwed my trip entitrely as I have arthritis and can ride a bike , as it doesn’t entail load bearing, but would be bugggered if I could walk that distance.

  4. Geoff (unregistered) on January 7th, 2008 @ 10:30 am

    Connex isn’t allowed to buy trains unfortunately. They aren’t allowed to improve timetables either, or add new services.

    As usual, its the governments fault.

  5. Kim (unregistered) on January 7th, 2008 @ 2:55 pm

    Gee, people are so demanding these days…

  6. adrock2xander (unregistered) on January 7th, 2008 @ 3:30 pm

    “Gee, people are so demanding these days…
    Posted by: Kim at January 7, 2008 02:55 PM”

    Tell me Kim, what do you expect out of a government that increases interest rates annually in spite of promises, refuses to apologise to the aboriginals, doesn’t allow concession fares to international students, taking their sweet time to find a solution to our drought and advocates drinking culture as a cool way to express oneself?

    Nothing, really.

    So here, we rant.

  7. Kim (unregistered) on January 8th, 2008 @ 8:34 pm

    Umm…I am pretty sure Melbourne’s public transport system concerns the Victorian State Government.

    And stupid people like you should learn that the Commonwealth Gorvnement does not set interest rates! It’s the Reserve Bank of Australia’s role, who is completely independent of the government.

    If you have a magical solution to the drought problem, please let the government know, because I am sure they would do everything they can (to a reasonable point) to alleviate the suffering of farmers and the detrimental economics effects of the drought, not to mention the other environmental problems its causes.

    I am sorry, but I don’t see advertisments paid for by the government which portrays politicians gulping down VBs. Maybe you should open your eyes and notice all the services provided at state and federal levels to combat binge drinking. The government does not have complete control of the culture of this country.

    Get some knowledge you FUCK!

  8. adrock2xander (unregistered) on January 8th, 2008 @ 8:59 pm

    Angry much? Or are you trying to compensate for your insecurities?

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