Cancelling East West Link cost $780m, but saved $4b

This is old news, but it keeps coming up, and I never got around to blogging about it in detail, so... The popular narrative of East West Link (from those who wanted it built) is that the Andrews Government paid $1 billion for nothing. As you might expect, there's a little more to it than that. The Victorian Auditor General found: The EWL project was terminated in June 2015 with more t


Banking paperwork

I used to bank with Commonwealth Bank of Australia, who had a habit of sending me lots of letters on the same day, though gradually everything moved online. When I bought my house in 2005, I switched to St George (which morphed into Bank Of Melbourne), and it was mostly online. Now I've refinanced my home loan, and switched to BankWest, a CBA subsidiary. They're keeping up with their par


How many people are affected by rail shutdowns?

Some local residents on the Dandenong line noted this summary of proposed shutdowns in the Environmental Management Strategy (page 11): Shutdowns – longer occupations, typically from 1 to 3 weeks in duration. Six shutdowns are scheduled between January 2017 and July 2018 and are likely to occur in: January 2017; July 2017; October 2017; January 2018; April 2018; and July 2018. No

Toxic Custard newsletter, transport

Real-time information arrives on trains

Real-time information became available on Metro trains on Thursday. Can we say hallelujah! Of course it's been on stations for years, via Passenger Information Displays (known in the biz as PIDs) and the green buttons providing audio. But now departure data can be seen in the PTV app (and others) and PTV Next 5 web site; it shows as minutes to departure when real-time is available, otherwise


How accessible is Vicroads HQ for non-car users?

Vicroads are doing some good stuff. While some cynics might think of them as all about cars, over the years they've increased their emphasis on smarter use of limited road space resources, and have steadily improved facilities for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport. And I know from talking to contacts there that they're thinking very carefully about good transport outcomes. Their SmartR

Bentleigh, transport

Small wins: 703 bus to be improved

Apologies for this very much locally focused (and possibly over-long) blog post: The main bus route through Bentleigh (both the suburb and the highly marginal state seat), the east-west 703 along Centre Road, is getting a slight upgrade. It doesn't seem to have been announced yet, but eagle-eyed timetable watcher Craig Halsall spotted it: on Sundays it will finally run the entire route to Br

Photos from ten years ago, Toxic Custard newsletter

Old photos from October 2006

Another in my series of photos from ten years ago. Early October '06 was our holiday to Hobart. I haven't been back since, unfortunately, so I have no idea how much has changed and how much hasn't. I'm guessing Salamanca Market hasn't changed too much. Lock him up and throw away the key. Hobart's General Post Office. Same location; it seemed to be one of the main bus stops in

Toxic Custard newsletter, Working life

Advice for job applicants

I've been really busy this week, and haven't had time to prepare another blog post, so here's some borrowed content for you. This is from a good friend. She works for a company I won't name, and is in a position where she does a bit of hiring -- or at least, filtering through the CVs that arrive in response to job ads. Dear Applicant, I'd like to interview you, really I would. You are intere

Politics and activism, Toxic Custard newsletter

Council elections – if party affiliations aren’t obvious, look for the clues

As already noted, it's council voting time. In some council areas, including here in Glen Eira, council candidates aren't overtly aligned with political parties. But a number of candidates have affiliations. You just have to look for clues. Look for photos of candidates with state or federal MPs, ministers and leaders, particularly at events not publicised in advance (eg party events)


Every station now has PSOs after 6pm – except when they don’t

Sometimes travelling by train at night you'll see PSOs out on the platforms and station concourses. Sometimes they're not in sight... they might be in their pod, or elsewhere. Given the high-profile rollout of PSOs onto every station a signature policy of the 2010-2014 Ballieu Coalition government, carried over by the Andrews Labor government, you'd expect that the staffing would be reasonably