Glen Mount Waverley MP Michael Gidley got into a scrap with some ALP campaign workers on Wednesday outside Parliament Station.
On exiting the station, I received a brochure from an individual.
I then sought advice from authorised officers at the station on the distribution of this information because I do not believe it is appropriate for commuters to be approached in this manner by people distributing this information.
The ALP campaign workers, who work for Shadow Transport Spokesperson Fiona Richardson, claimed he was aggressive towards them, demanding to know their identities. Channel 7 reporter Brendan Donohoe saw the last part of the exchange, and said Gidley was shouting.
Has this guy never been handed a political brochure outside a railway station before? All the parties do it, and provided they weren’t blocking the exit or inside the station itself, he’s being a bit precious. And losing your temper over it certainly isn’t acceptable.
But what’s in the brochure itself? I haven’t been handed one yet, but Andrew got one on Monday outside Melbourne Central, and kindly scanned it for me.
Point by point.
“30.5 million extra passengers.” This is from the budget papers; the total 2011-12 target minus the 2010-11 expected outcome for metropolitan trams, trains and buses.
“No extra train services.” Err well I hate to break it to Labor, but this isn’t right. Metro and the Department of Transport are now on a trajectory of steadily adding services. This would have happened no matter who was in government. A bunch got added in May (though not on all lines, and Fiona Richardson’s Epping line was one that missed out), and more will get added in the next timetable revision.
In fact the same budget paper they got the 30.5 million from also says (on the following page) that train services will be expanded from 19.7 million service kilometres in 2010-11 to 21.0 in 2011-12 — a 6.5% increase (to cover a forecast 7.8% increase in passenger trips — something Labor don’t mention — though note part of it is expected to be off-peak growth, which in some cases can be accommodated on existing services).
“No new trams”. Labor ordered 50 which have yet to start arriving, but this is basically correct. The Coalition hasn’t funded any more.
“No new buses”. Umm well, in just over two weeks, the high-frequency 601 shuttle between Huntingdale and Monash Uni starts, and presumably requires an increase to the bus fleet, so this obviously isn’t true. But it is true that no new Smartbuses or major service expansions (apart from the 601) are currently on the cards.
The flip side re-iterates and expands on these points:
On the point of the new timetable: actually the number of peak-hour loop services didn’t drop. It went up. The biggest change in peak the Glen Waverley line switching to run direct, so 7:01 to 9:00am from Richmond:
- Old timetables: from Caulfield 37 + from Glen Waverley 12 + from Camberwell 24 = 73
- New timetables: from Caulfield 36 + from Glen Waverley 0 + from Camberwell 41 = 77
The number of direct trains into Flinders Street also went up.
It’s true that the new timetable increased travel times. The loop changes add to some trips, and make others quicker, but there is certainly padding in the timetables which means some trips are at the very least several minutes slower — and I don’t think any trips got quicker due to those types of adjustments.
As for the conclusion, that’s it’s getting worse under the Liberals, well that’s a loaded statement that I think is very difficult to prove.
The Opposition has a vital role to play in ensuring scrutiny on the government. They’re short-selling themselves with this brochure. There are genuine concerns that the government is ignoring, and the pledge for more open government is definitely something that Labor should be making more of.