Connex and Yarra Trams dumped

So, both Connex and TransdevTSL (operating as Yarra Trams) are being shown into the departure lounge, with MTM (MTR) and Keolis to replace them.

I don’t think the former is a surprise, though the latter is.

Some are celebrating. I know this for a fact, as yesterday morning at the station I heard one man say to his wife that he’d be opening a bottle of champagne if Connex got dumped.

Just another crowded train
(Note the newspaper advert!)

But how much will really change? If it’s the same old dodgy infrastructure (tracks that buckle in summer, signalling that fails, trains with unreliable air-conditioning, a lack of tram on-road priority), the new companies will face much the same issues. Just because MTR runs a great system in Hong Kong doesn’t mean they can magically do it here.

And who’s taking responsibility for planning the greater PT network? You know the sort of thing, actually ensuring that buses, trams and trains are timetabled to meet properly at interchange points, rather than the un-coordinated mess we have now? Like the infrastructure, that should be a role that sits with government, not the individual operating companies.

That said, there are things the operators can do to improve things: better cleanliness and maintenance, more staff, better handling of disruptions.

It’ll be interesting to see how they go.

PS. Lunchtime: Audio of Mr Brumby fluffing the announcement, accidentally saying Keolis would run the trains. (MP3, 27 seconds, 218Kb)