Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The News in Brief

Dinner Friday night at a Japanese restaurant in Glenferrie Road Malvern with three dyke friends. I don't really like Japanese food but this was modern Japanese food adapted for Western tastes. It was really very good and the company excellent.

Dinner Sunday night at Malvern Vale Hotel with R, our Fijian Indian Friend and his visitor guest from Poland, the Brother Friends and the Brighton Antique Dealer. Very nice evening. BAD was full of news and gossip and history. Polish man was very nice and good fun. R won $90 on poker machines and so paid for my dinner.

Monday, post R's old phone to Hippie Niece as she broke hers. Tram to city, change to a tram to Carlton and attend Vic Roads for car registration business. No tram had air con. Warned of a 15 to 20 minute wait, but waited only just over 5 minutes. A tick for Vic Roads.

Back to town, collect R's yearly supply of contact lenses.

Attend Medicare office in Galleria for each of us to make a claim and lodge our bank account details so we won't have to again sit waiting for 42 minutes. R had a win with a very old doctor's bill, $64, but waiting for three quarters of an hour to be served is a disgrace. A very big fail to the Galleria Medicare office. Why is it not properly staffed?

We were hungry. Lunch at our favourite little restaurant in Centre Place was out of the question as a busking band had set up and it was far too noisy. Assuming the band had approval to be there, that would be a fail to City of Melbourne for approving a busking band at an inappropriate location. We lunched at the other end of Centre Place.

Tram home? Should be simple. No, there was a delay in the service because of a car stuck on the tram tracks, maybe an accident. We tram hopped, an air con 1 to Southbank Boulevard, then an air con 8 to Domain Interchange and then an air con 72 to our tram stop. The 72 may as well not had air con as it was jam packed with people and stinking hot. Yarra Trams, fail. What should have been no more than a 15 minute trip, took the time it would take to walk home, 30 minutes and if wasn't hot, we would have done so.

Which brought me to thinking about how many trams do not have air conditioning and how long before the trams will all will have air con. Our trains and buses all have air con. Let me look. I have the stats now but will save it for another day. Why? May as well do it now while the figures are to hand.


Air con trams: B, D, C, E class: 245
Non air con trams: Z, A class: 212

35 new E class to be delivered and once that is complete the figure will be around 280 trams with air con, 177 without. The newest tram without out air con is the A Class, the last built in 1986. Tram life is much longer than bus life, usually around 30 years. By that figure, the last non air con tram should be retired next year, 2016.

At the present rate, I will theoretically and more than likely be dead by the time Melbourne has all trams with air con. The joys of living in a first world country with first world problems.


24 comments:

  1. Only 45 minutes in Medicare? That would be a win here. And they have moved them out of the town centres, making it hard to even find one. Hiss and spit.
    I do appreciate it when the doctor's office can process the medicare claim. A lot.

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    1. EC, they have been closing them and moving them here too, with staff moved to busier offices. Somehow, it is not working. Yes, now Medicare has my bank details, hopefully I won't have to go through that again.

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  2. First world country?

    Yesterday it was revealed our internet speeds have dropped to 44th position. Blame Government policy regarding NBN.

    Medicare offices in Sydney have disappeared into Centrelink offices with horrendous waiting times. Blame Government policy and budget cuts.

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    1. Victor, that was what happened to our Prahran Medicare office. It is not convenient to go there. Oh yes, I do know where the blame lies.

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  3. Andrew, the same it is here the tram and the accident almost every day typical accidents. How it is possible drivers know we liove in the big conurbation.

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    1. Gosia, at least in Europe in general, disrupting public transport is taken very seriously by the authorities. Not so much here.

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  4. Buskers making a living is good.
    Buskers ruining your lunch with too much noise is bad.

    Even internal music in restaurants and coffee shops can be way too loud :(

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    1. Hels, funnily after we were seated and had ordered at the other end of the lane, loud music came on the internal system, but it was quickly turned down.

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  5. Yes our problems seem insignificant compared to those living in Nigeria.I haven't been to medicare office in years all done by the doctor and directly deposited into bank account.

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    1. Dinane, as will mine be done in the future, plus or minus the extra $20 Abbott tax.

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  6. oh Diane I need the Good Nigerians to machete all the bad Nigerians.

    Medicare absorbed into Centrelink premises in Ballarat and one cannot argue with the economics, however, the Concierge greeter with the electronic queue board had a fail which meant I sat there for 30 mins before enquiring about the delay and finding that I had been forgot. Story of my life. Would not have been there at all except online there was a Change Of Address fail. sigh. Now to the trams and their air: on Nicholson St tram which goes to Bourke St. Packed at front, open space at rear. I sit. oh. guy chroming blue paint with a very mucky plastic bag and arms. stench of brain damaging fumes. I ask driver to open windows "Cannot do" his response. Chromer of course, joined others at the Salvos HQ and I met friend at Pellegrini and needed fast black coffees to recover.

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    1. Ann, I have smelt that smell and it is very strong. Yes, I think the small windows are locked. In is enough to taint your taste buds for your double macchiatos. Funny though, there was a good economy of scale by having Medibank Private sharing space with Medicare, but the government said no.

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  7. No Medicare office* anywhere in Australia is properly staffed. Ours here is Adelaide has a machine as you walk in, where you select your language preference, then select your reason for being there, then it spits out a number and you sit and wait. eventually, just when the story you are reading gets really, really interesting, you'll hear ticket A2 proceed to counter 5.
    * substitute any government run office and probably several non- government run offices. (*~*)

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    1. River, as I said, Vic Roads was good. I've not been in that Medicare office before and will not again. It was bad timing that it just happened to be lunch time.

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  8. I'm fairly sure they closed our medicare office in Southland, not sure why. It was busy.

    I wonder if the trams in Germany were airconditioned. They certainly had heating.

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    1. Fen, only caught one tram in Germany in a smaller town and it was modern, but I don't think it had aircon. Austria we only caught older trams and they weren't. Budapest and Amsterdam both had the same trams as ours, Combino, made in Germany and I don't thing they did either. Our Combino trams do, but the units are not strong enough for our heat.

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  9. Seems you didn't have a good day. That's an aweful long time to wait in Medicare..

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    1. WA, it wasn't too bad. We were quite relaxed moods and R only went off his tree once, after we home about the unreliable trams. I have sent a complaint about the wait time at Medicare, but I know they monitor wait times carefully and make staffing judgements.

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  10. Sounds like there are much more similarities between you and us here in the states than we both realize...

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    1. Keith, some may argue we get the best from Europe and the US. Some may argue we get the worst from Europe and the US. I think we get both.

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  11. Sounds like the getting there was much easier than the return trip Andrew :) Thankfully I haven't had to actually go into Medicare for ages I'm sure it would be the same here, it's one of those visits where timing is everything. I'm almost sure our trains are all airconditioned, at least all the trains I 've been on are :) loud music when trying to converse over dinner is never welcome.

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    1. Grace, yes. I am sure there are quiet times you can attend and get served straight away, but it shouldn't be like that. I am fairly sure all your trains have air con.......they would need to.

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  12. I love Japanese food too, the hic is the restaurants are very expensive, unless you go to a Sushi thing and still ! Our trams would need heating and not airconditionning, it's cold enough. I travelled on a bus without heating and was frozen to an ice cube !

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    1. Gattina, they do tend to be expensive here too. I don't like sushi, so no cheap alternative for me. Hard to believe buses run there without heating. Everything has heating here, but buses never get that cold and I doubt it is ever used here.

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