(I started writing this two days ago. Suddenly Melbourne's underground railway is in the news)
It is absurd that Sydney's Eastern Suburbs Railway does not go to Bondi Beach and stops at Bondi Junction. Yes, I have heard and read all the arguments as to why it shouldn't. The hoards will get there regardless of the inconvenience of changing to buses that can't cope with loading, that are slow and that add an extra thirty minutes at least to the trip. Please, they drive their cars there too and pay something like five dollars an hour to park.
Before Sydney's eastern suburbs train line was built, they had a very extensive and good tram system, but even such an excellent tram system struggled to cope with the numbers of travellers.
I have no idea how the buses coped once the tram system closed.
The eastern suburbs train line had been talked about in the early 1900s. It is unimaginable that it would not be there now.
When the number of passengers for trams, buses or light rail increase to the point where they can't really cope, it is time to introduce heavy rail. That is, big trains on isolated tracks, to deliver people quickly and efficiently.
As a St Kilda Road resident and frequent traveller, it is clear to me that the trams along St Kilda Road are barely coping with their loading. The heavy loading delays trams. The heavy loading leaves people behind. The heavy loading makes for unpleasant travelling conditions. The service will slow down even more once Myki starts.
It is time to re-invent the wheel and the proposed underground railway is a good starting point. So while they are digging a new tunnel under the city, they can get about turning the city loop system into something much more useful such as train lines that can run high frequency.
Myki will start here in Melbourne before the end of the year. I reckon for about an eighth of the price, we could have adapted a system from elsewhere. Money is spent now. But it will be good once it beds down, although I remain unconvinced about it working on trams without delaying them. Still, it can't be worse than when tram drivers were selling tickets under the Jeff Kennett regime. Nothing could be that bad.
New train and tram companies are about to take over our rail systems. Their spin doctors will be even better than those of our present operators. I have no faith that they can make a silk purse from a sow's ear. It still falls to the feet of government no matter how hard they try to shift responsibility.
I have thoroughly depressed myself.