Airport rail

Good morning! I’m over in The Age today writing about airport rail:

Ever wondered why we need airport rail? Catch Skybus in peak hour

Go read it.

Hopefully the two typos I’ve just spotted aren’t too jarring, and can be fixed online soon. (Too late for the paper — argh!)

Update 13/5/2018

A couple of people asked about the source for these numbers:

There are at least 24,000 workers in the airport precinct, making it one of the busiest employment centres in Melbourne. A staggering 96 per cent of them drive to work. No wonder the traffic is bad.

The source was the Melbourne Airport Landside Access Strategy, prepared by SKM for PTV in 2012. Unfortunately I’ve misread one of the numbers — the 24,000 was person-trips, so the number of workers would be half that.

However the real point of this was the 96 per cent figure, so I don’t think it invalidates my point. Since then, later figures indicate the number of workers in the precinct has risen to about 16,000 measured in the 2016 Census. 16,000 was also a forecast in the 2013 airport masterplan for 2018 numbers, so it’s growing faster than expected. The same masterplan had an estimate of 23,000 by 2033.

For 96% of workers in such a big employment centre to be driving to work is a really serious problem.

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7 Replies to “Airport rail”

  1. Great piece in The Age. Congratulations on being treated seriously (not all transport advocates are!).

    “It will be expensive. Given the cost, what will make it successful? ”
    That is the only question mark I have around the rail-link feasibility. To pay for the infrastructure and operating costs, what would or should a trip cost? How much should a government contribute? Who gets the benefit – shouldn’t they pay?
    That said, most other cities around the world have an airport link, it seems odd that Melbourne doesn’t.

  2. It’s a good article. Going to the airport and even with melbourne airport is s poor experience, actually compared to sydney its embarresingly bad. Daniel the airport link on the way in needs to be somewhat like the circular quay train that stops at sydney harbor. On the way through melbourne we could really showcase some great assets if we were smart. It’s likely with a rapidly growing Indian and Chinese population melbourne should think about opportunities not only for people going to but coming from the airport the other way.

  3. I lived in South Korea for 10 years. I would like to share some aspects of their airport rail system:

    > The main airport (that is located in a distant island far away from all the major cities) is connected to the farthest corners of the country (maximum 500km away) by high speed (called KTX, 300+ km/h) rail link.

    > In addition to that, the there is a special high speed train link (called AREX) to Seoul and the 2nd biggest airport of the country. If you take AREX from Seoul, you will have additional option to check-in from the city terminal. So check in your luggage, take the boarding pass at Seoul and hop on the train to go to airport.

    > To complement the rail network, there are very high quality limousine bus service (10m frequency) to every city and major towns. Buses have dedicated lane in most of the congestion choke points of expressways (freeways).

    > Last year they added an additional magnetic levitation train from airport to the adjacent hotel, shopping and job precincts and that is free of cost as of now.

    > In South Korea, there is no freeway as you must pay tolls to drive in their expressways (the rego is quite cheap, so you pay as you drive) no matter you are entering there from a big city or a country town. But the toll is relatively cheaper. As the main airport is in a distant island, it is connected to the main-land by two very long sea bridges. And I can confirm you that the toll of these two bridges is at least 5 times higher than usual expressway tolls. Airport parking is also expensive (cheaper than Melbourne though).

    > The second largest airport also run a lot of domestic and international (to/from popular destinations in Asia) flights which I think take a lot of pressure off the main airport. If we could connect Avalon with the Geelong train line (trust me it will be really cheap to do) and make it more effective than running some Jetstars flights only, it would significantly improve the experience at Melbourne airport.

    > The airport rail station is state-of-the art, an architectural masterpiece, clean (perhaps that’s why Incheon has been selected as world’s best airport for the last 9 years.), spacious, full of sunlights, connected to the air-terminals via underground walkways and monorails. Last but not the least, there is a very beautiful sky garden there in the airport rail station.

  4. Daniel, are you allowed to post your letter/article here?

    If you did it for free, then surely they can not object.

    I am afraid the article may disappear from Fairfax in the future.

  5. Good of you to keep a copy of the text, Daniel.

    How has your experience been with moving your data from your old Android phone to your new Android phone?

    Since you were asking which car you should buy, I thought maybe you could advise us what program you use to backup and restore phones. Do you root your phone before doing so?

  6. I would think that a large proportion of the baggage handlers, security guards and Hungry jacks workers at the airport would not be travelling there from Dandenong.

    A train to the airport is not going to benefit most of those people, or create an incentive not the drive to work.

    What is needed is better effective public transport around and across the northern suburbs. The 901 and other buses are interesting if you are on a busmans holiday, but otherwise, not. If I could drive to work at the airport in 20 minutes or spend probably 90 minutes waiting around for slow and uncomfortable buses, EVERY DAY, then it really is a no brainer.

    Melbourne public transport is, more than most places, too CBD focussed. And nowhere in the world is it more complicated and tricky to make a simple train trip from one side of the city to the other, with the ridiculous loop.

    The Skybus is a very effective operation, the most effective operation of its kind that I have seen anywhere in the world. Anyone who thinks a train will be better, is going to be severely disappointed by the train, in my assessment.

    If Melbourne and Sydney are any guide, the ticket prices are going to be comparable.

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