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I don't necessarily hate Myki, I just think the smartcard system is a bit outdated and difficult. It would be more straightforward (especially for tourists) if we we could use our bank cards to touch on and off.
More straightforward for a tourist to buy the local smartcard than to play a guessing game as to whether or not their international credit card will actually function on the train network where they'll be pushed out of the way by a line of busy commuters if their card fails. With Mobile Myki that handles a good chunk of travellers who will take the five minutes to set it up, and those that won't would need a few Myki booths at the airport.
 

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Hi all.
I don’t know the economics of this well but in principle, why shouldn’t the airport link/station just be considered another stop on the myki system rather than a premium leg (ie the ~$20 fare)? Is it a commercial issue with Melb airport operators (ie contracts guaranteeing dodgy public outcome) or with skybus? Or because of the big spend required to make it happen, ie recouping construction costs? If the latter, how is it any different to any other major costly line extension on the metro network, which would just be incorporated into the myki cost structure? The patronage would be huge if it was just another stop on the line rather than a premium option, not to mention the great first impression for visitors..
Thanks
 

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Probably many different angles to it.

Political: airport rail links are seen as elitist by some and making people pay extra for them goes a bit of the way to neutering any pushback (why spend X on airport rail when you could spend Y on [insert favourite project here]
Cost recovery: as you said and as you rightly pointed out, why put an extra impost on recovery more cash for an airport rail link versus say SRL or the announced Geelong stuff? probably comes back to neutering pushback.
Commercial (private airport operators): there might be an element of that but we're talking about a project initiated by a government that doesn't regulate aviation, not sure how those connections will work.

I think it's always been inevitable that there'd be a surcharge for the MARL, the question is however about getting the balance right (price) - overseas and interstate experience give us many examples to learn from and this is a good read on the topic: Keys to Great Airport Transit — Human Transit . To be honest, I think the cost of a skybus ticket was just a throwaway comparison like how all the media outlets keep on comparing the alleged time for the skybus (22 minutes - which we all know varies wildly and is therefore a really shit comparison).

I also really don't get why people get uppity about the cost of a myki/how you can't get refunds or how much of an impression having a surcharge to use the airport train is: the point of tourism is to extract cash from tourists and if it's done through public transport so be it. People aren't going to stop coming to Melbourne because we charge a surcharge on the new airport service (i.e look at Sydney). Actually, there'll probably be a few triggered flogs who would use that an excuse and tell all of the 4 friends on facebook about it, but we don't really care about them.

If the new rail line gets 20-25% of all trips [about double what the percentage is of train users for the whole metro] to the airport (workers and travellers: note the workers component will rise a lot, just look at the new bio-factory announced to be built out there in 5 years!) then I think it'll have done well, likewise, if that goes to 35-40% once the second phase of the SRL connects to the airport, that'll be good too.
 

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The line only should be a once daily surcharge of under $5. Since the service is a standard suburban train, I feel that a high charge would be out of line with the service provided. We don't want to repeat the mistakes of the Sydney and Brisbane lines.

The surcharges should only be a once daily fee to encourage usage amongst airport employees and not to penalise frequent users of the link.
 

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the point of tourism is to extract cash from tourists and if it's done through public transport so be it. People aren't going to stop coming to Melbourne because we charge a surcharge on the new airport service (i.e look at Sydney)
Hi Tayser thanks for your viewpoints. Just on the above bits:
  • Re the ‘point of tourism’, I assume you mean from the destination’s perspective but without wanting to sound too philosophical, I would think the main point is to enrich the lives of travellers. If they’re given any reason to feel like their destination has ‘extracted cash’ from them - even if it’s just the cost of a train ticket from/to the airport - this can have a negative first (and lasting) impression on them, and they may be less likely to return and/or recommend to their friends. I know it sounds petty but I’ve heard it enough times from ‘triggered flogs’ to believe it has some truth to it
  • Even if ppl don’t stop coming to Melbourne because of it, they sure might avoid the train over alternative transport. Whenever I’ve caught the Sydney airport train, patronage is miserable - once you have at least two travelers in a party, a cab makes far more sense in both price and convenience
I’m really glad this is finally happening but just hope the consumer settings make it a success. I find the economic side of it fascinating!
 

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The problem with comparing the time-frames of Sydney metro is all the ground work start much much earlier than Melbourne's suburban rail loop, airport rail link and Geelong fast rail proposal. These projects only started to reveal as official projects after the 2018 election in Victoria.

When Vic Labor government arrived on the scene, the only major projects which were the level crossing removals and the metro tunnel projects started in 2015 and will all be completed by 2025. Also delivered the Mernda rail link between 2015-2018.

NSW Liberal government arrived on the scene in 2011, they started the NW metro at that point in time. It finished in 2019. So that project despite being greenfields took 8 years from start to finish.

The Metro west project started in 2016, will be complete by 2030. That's 14 years from start to finish.

Western Metro Airport link started in 2018, and then will be done by 2026, that's 8 year from start to finish.

Because Sydney got a head start, it looks like they've made more progress than Melbourne, due to the political time-frame when Melbourne started its major project build.

From start to finish, the airport rail link will take 11 years to build (possibly 10) , not unreasonable, there are many complex parts of the project. The Airport station will be likely going underground and will involve tunnelling near the station precinct, the flyer-overs and connections into Sunshine station are gonna be complicated, that's not easy at all. The easy bit is the trains and signalling, since that is already simplified by using the metro tunnel project to help with that.

When you look into it, you now see that the timeframes are just about the same as Sydney, just because Sydney's projects are more advanced, doesn't mean Melbourne is slow, it's still in the early stages of the development of the project, the timeframe isn't confirmed, the costing isn't confirmed, they are estimates.
 

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If the new rail line gets 20-25% of all trips [about double what the percentage is of train users for the whole metro] to the airport (workers and travellers: note the workers component will rise a lot, just look at the new bio-factory announced to be built out there in 5 years!) then I think it'll have done well, likewise, if that goes to 35-40% once the second phase of the SRL connects to the airport, that'll be good too.
There’d have to be an exemption for workers on the surcharge, otherwise “they be driving” (unless the airport does a shifty and closes the staff car park ‘coz why waste good money making land on the plebs when they can catch the Choo Choo).
 

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Is there any coincidence in the timing of the start of construction due late 2022 and the next state election at all? In other words, is this susceptible to being knocked on the head again?
 

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Hi guys, enjoyed reading all your reactions. A couple of points from me:

1. 7 years to build this is reasonable. This is not about building two railway lines through grassland like in Western Sydney, contrary to some assertions.
2. There is a massive job involved in building the Airport station. It is underground and needs to connect to four terminals with redundancy in design for a Terminal 5 and a possible future extension under the southern part of the airport to a mid field Terminal 6 and western side Terminals [email protected] Decades away those things but you don't build the railway line without having regard to the Airport Masterplan.
3. The owners of Melbourne Airport refused to cough up a cent. That is why fare will be $19.50.
4. In my view the Government got it correct by not allowing the line to go into private hands (industry super funds). That would result in a desal plant type screwing of the tax payer.
5. The Federal Government is forking out billions in NSW to build the Western Sydney Airport and the various transport connections. Any assertions to the contrary are simply false.
6. The comparison with the Sydney Airport line is nonsensical. That was built for the Olympics, it is far shorter than the Melbourne one, Tullamarine is more than double the distance to the CBD than Mascot yet it takes at least 20 minutes to get to Central Station, 28 minutes to Circular Quay from the domestic terminals, longer from International. This will be less than 50% longer for 110% more distance.
 

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Hi guys, enjoyed reading all your reactions. A couple of points from me:
6. The comparison with the Sydney Airport line is nonsensical. That was built for the Olympics, it is far shorter than the Melbourne one, Tullamarine is more than double the distance to the CBD than Mascot yet it takes at least 20 minutes to get to Central Station, 28 minutes to Circular Quay from the domestic terminals, longer from International. This will be less than 50% longer for 110% more distance.
Look at the timetable rather than make things up.

It takes 13 minutes from the International terminal and 11 minutes from domestic to get to Central.

You also make out it being built in its entirety from scratch ... Isn't it joining the existing line at Sunshine?. The only new section for this project is the Sunshine to Airport section as the city stations are part of the project underway.
 

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Because that was on the condition the state and federal governments contributed $5b each as well ($17b project in total) while the private operator collects all the fare revenue. It was always a dog of a deal.
I think this is why Melbourne Airport refused to cough up a cent.
 

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Is there any coincidence in the timing of the start of construction due late 2022 and the next state election at all? In other words, is this susceptible to being knocked on the head again?
If they're still finalising a business case (which is the basis for gov expectations on cost), they've still got statutory planning processes to go through (i.e Wynne's department needs to tick things off), even before they start getting "quotes" for building it. Plus 6 months is probably an appropriate time for scaling up after a contract signing.

It's not as if there's nothing happening re: rail around Melbourne. Sydney's gonig to be in the same boat from this point on, labour will become increasingly harder to get as more and more projects enter construction phases. Likewise Perth and Brisbane will be ramping up as well.

More broadly, if you're finishing high school or in your early 20s when it's much easier to change career paths, you'd be absolutely barking mad not to get in to / change study into something rail-related (eng/planning/more specific like signalling)... you've got 1-2 decades of work ahead of you - and you won't have to travel overseas to cut your teeth on these projects!
 

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Hi guys, enjoyed reading all your reactions. A couple of points from me:

1. 7 years to build this is reasonable. This is not about building two railway lines through grassland like in Western Sydney, contrary to some assertions.
2. There is a massive job involved in building the Airport station. It is underground and needs to connect to four terminals with redundancy in design for a Terminal 5 and a possible future extension under the southern part of the airport to a mid field Terminal 6 and western side Terminals [email protected] Decades away those things but you don't build the railway line without having regard to the Airport Masterplan.
3. The owners of Melbourne Airport refused to cough up a cent. That is why fare will be $19.50.
4. In my view the Government got it correct by not allowing the line to go into private hands (industry super funds). That would result in a desal plant type screwing of the tax payer.
5. The Federal Government is forking out billions in NSW to build the Western Sydney Airport and the various transport connections. Any assertions to the contrary are simply false.
6. The comparison with the Sydney Airport line is nonsensical. That was built for the Olympics, it is far shorter than the Melbourne one, Tullamarine is more than double the distance to the CBD than Mascot yet it takes at least 20 minutes to get to Central Station, 28 minutes to Circular Quay from the domestic terminals, longer from International. This will be less than 50% longer for 110% more distance.
Further to your point 2 - the brochure they released yesterday has intimated that there'll be fairly significant work between Sunshine and Albion stations (the later when the junction will be) and I'm still happy to wager that there will be multiple hundreds of millions of dollars sunk into an upgraded Sunshine station.

For those interstate/not really that familiar: Geelong (currently), Ballarat and Bendigo have their own train paths separate from the existing metro network (which only includes Sunbury branch and will have an Airport branch by the end of the decade, possibly another to Melton sooner).

There's a need to expand track for Ballarat (and some Geelongs) to be separate from Sunshine to Deer Park (and Melton eventually) and the airport branch is coming along. And then there's the problem of electrifying the Melton line (so Ballarat can express) and electrifying and building more stations on the Wyndham Vale line (which takes Geelong exclusively now, but now we know that'll only be part time eventually) and all those lines run back to Sunshine.

This MARL and Geelong work is the right time to rebuild junctions that will impact platforms (and there's probably going to be a need to build two more platforms) - it's going to be a big job and they'll have to building in whilst a busy railway (actually two track pairs which vastly different services on them) is operating.
 

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I wonder why they turned down the $7 billion from the private consortium.
Because that was on the condition the state and federal governments contributed $5b each as well ($17b project in total) while the private operator collects all the fare revenue. It was always a dog of a deal.
Actually, fare revenue would have been shared. The bigger issue was that the consortiums revenue model was primarily based on charging the govt a tunnel access fee. ie. each train journey would be charged a fee to use the tunnel with a minimum tph requirement. That essentially results in the govt not having control over a key part of the network and being at the mercy of the consortium for decades to come. If the Libs were in power they would have taken up this offer as it was the preferred route of the Feds in order to increase the value of Maryibyrnong Defence land.

Think of the arrangement as similar to the Citylink toll which has made Transurban billions in income - Citylink toll income is over $2.15m a day!. Had the Kennett govt undertaken the same toll model themselves for expanding the Tulla Freeway, the state would have made billions as a revenue stream to spend on other projects.
 

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I wonder why they turned down the $7 billion from the private consortium.
because they're idiots - .....its all about control and the department of transport wanting to run the agenda.......

There's no way I'll be catching it - its just a suburban rail line extension with a train thats no faster than the bus - more mediocrity
 
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