Wouldn't a train to the airport be a marvellous thing for us Melburnians? I reckon so and it is absurd that we don't have one already.
But would I use it? Let us assume R and I are paying full fare and I don't consider Skybus a serious competitor against us getting a taxi. A taxi costs about $65 and gets us to the airport in less than half an hour.
If our airport train was to be similarly priced to Sydney's and Brisbane's, then to catch an airport train from the city to the airport would cost around $15 each, plus a two hour ticket tram ticket each and we are nearly at $20 each, $40 for both of us as against adding another $12 each and getting a taxi. So, price is not going to convince me.
If I have an appointment in the city, I allow half an hour to get there by tram. This covers me because if the tram and bus service completely fail, I can walk to the city in this time, obviously depending on where I need to be in the city. I would add another 15 minutes to get to Southern Cross Station.
So, there is 45 minutes and it would be hoped the train would get us to the airport in less than 15 minutes, but you need to factor in waiting time for the train too, maybe 15 minutes.
So, in total one hour and fifteen minutes as against thirty minutes in a taxi. And don't forget about hauling cases on and off trams and trains.
It really doesn't look terribly viable for us to use the much longed for airport train.
Unless, the line was was incorporated into the proposed Footscray to Caulfield rail tunnel. It would mean a five minute walk to the Domain Interchange and hop on a train that takes us directly to the airport, or even with one convenient change along the way. That would be so convenient, I wouldn't care how much it cost.
I wrote this Tuesday morning and co-incidentally, a Crikey writer published this afternoon.