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Media Release

24/01/2002

Airport Rail: Time for a Re-Think

The Public Transport Users Association has called for a re-examination of options for improved public transport to Tullamarine Airport.

PTUA Secretary Vaughan Williams said that the decision last week to scrap the proposed rail link confirmed that the planning process had been flawed from the outset.

"Rather than benchmark Melbourne against cities with successful public transport links to their airports, the Government acceded to the Nauru House bureaucracy's insistence on a special high-tech link with lots of unnecessary infrastructure," said Mr Williams

"This, together with the Government's insistence on a private-public sector partnership and inappropriately narrow objectives for the link, doomed the process to fail. The proposal from Nauru House cost much more than it needed to, justifiably alarmed residents along the route, and even if built would have achieved few social or environmental benefits."

Mr Williams called on Transport Minister Peter Batchelor to start the planning process again from the beginning, emphasising duplication of successful solutions from overseas rather than attempting to copy failures.

"Cities with successful airport public transport treat their airport as another destination within a high-quality rail network. An good example is London's Heathrow airport, which has two rail links: one a straightforward extension of the Underground, the other a special express service. The 'Heathrow Express' (the model for Melbourne's failed proposal) gets there quicker, but it's the ordinary tube line that gets more passengers and higher cost recovery."

"A simple extension of the suburban network would be cost-effective and involve little impact on residents along the route. In the meantime, the existing buses to the airport (both the Skybus and the suburban bus routes) should have their frequency increased and be integrated into the Met fare system."

"Tullamarine Airport could then become truly part of Melbourne rather than an isolated appendage, giving Melburnians a genuine alternative to expensive taxis and parking," concluded Mr Williams

Contacts:
PTUA Office 9650 7898


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Last Modified: 29 January 2002