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Your views: on privatised trains and trams, and purging senior executives

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Today, readers comment on public transport privatisation, and senior department staff being axed by new governments.

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How do commuters benefit?

Commenting on the story: Rail privatisation fight explodes, but the evidence is not black-and-white

At least if the government owns the trains and trams we can throw them out if we are dissatisfied.

How do we protest privatised transport?

We are stuck with a ‘contract’ that apparently is inviolate, though we never agreed to it. – Vivian Garner

What a joke.  We only have one suburban tram service Adelaide to Glenelg which operates quite efficiently.

What’s to be gained by its privatisation other than reduced services, staff cuts and increased fares?

Same could be said for the railways.  We only have four main lines; Belair,  Seaford, Outer Harbor and Gawler.  All operate quite effectively.  Not sure how services can be improved.

And while Minister Knoll might argue  “that  many parts of the London public transport system – which includes buses, trams and surface rail – operated successfully under an outsourced model”,  It would seem to me that he is drawing a long bow to compare our tram and train system with London’s. – Malcolm Coleman

So Minister Knoll has cited London as being the paragon of rail privatisation. I wonder which London he is referring to; maybe London, Ontario.

Having lived in London (England) during 2016 and part of 2017 and having traveled extensively on the rail and underground systems, if I were in the Labor Party I would be partying at the thought of the privatisation on the tram and train network.

I would give it one term before they are returned to power, which they don’t as yet deserve.

I don’t know which part of London Minister Knoll visited … but it is obvious he didn’t talk to the rail commuters.

In 1993, British Rail was abolished and its operations were franchised out to private companies (TOCs). Since that time performance of the TOCs has varied between good and so poor that some TOCs were stripped of their rights to operate trains and their parts of the system were effectively re-nationalised, until they could be re-tendered out.

The major part of the London rail system is delivered by Southern, Thameslink, Great Northern and South Eastern.

In 2016 there were a series of rolling strikes on the Southern over pay and conditions but that was nothing to the total chaos that settled on London in 2018.

In fact the UK Parliament was petitioned to remove Govia from operating the TOCs Southern, Thameslink and Great Northern due to their incompetence, when thousands of trains were cancelled again and again. Govia also runs the South Eastern TOC.

“Which” did a survey of 4000 commuters in 2019 where the results showed the worst TOC’s in the country based on punctuality, reliability, value for money and availability of seats were run by Govia which is a joint venture of Go-Ahead and Keolis.

According to Minister Knoll he is looking forward to a bid to run the trains and trams from Keolis. Based on the real facts from London, Labor will be a shoe in.

I suggest the Government should state in the tender docs that the State reserves the right to take back operation of the tram and train systems without penalty or compensation to the tender winner.

If the Government does not then I would suggest that that would be considerable maladministration on the part of the Government.

The tender documents should be carefully scrutinised by the crossbenches (unfortunately one cannot trust the Government) to ensure that there are sufficient safeguards in place to ensure punctuality and reliability metrics, backed by considerable fines for under-performance. – Geoff Moore

Privatisation of the SA public transport system will be a complete disaster for our state.  Not just for the prospective commuters but for the state and especially Adelaide and its environs.

SA is essentially a city state with a long and broad corridor of suburbs, but with a small population along this transport corridor.

There is no evidence other than an initial windfall for the government if we privatise these services and fares will  be increased (operators will put great pressure on the government to allow for this as the government won’t want a return of any contracts). 

And routes will be slashed as there will not be enough sustainable existing and/or increase in commuter interest, regardless of what incentives are offered.

Anyone doing the research on our demography will also understand that many commuters who use transport  services are now part of a group where fare discounts apply.

Employment patterns have changed substantially and more than 50% of people now work part time/casually/multi jobs at odd hours, but not in a pattern that means great number of commuters.

SA and Adelaide in particular is ripe for really sustainable public transport that provides quick, regular, multi systems, that costs little for those using. 

Other benefits to our state and city are substantial, as we continue to reduce emissions and provide certainty for those who need to get around, which also has the benefit of attracting people to our state. 

We are spending many public dollars currently attracting people to live in the city and other specifically chosen urban renewal projects.

If we then change the transport arrangements which leave them paying more, this defeats our purpose and is a further example of wasted effort and public funds. 

It’s known that transport is a very important consideration of liveability and attraction to place for any population, and the costs and options are what makes it even more so.

SA is seeking to attract skilled people via overseas migration and also from interstate, this to stem the outflow which occurs in SA every year and is still more in the negative than the positive.

If we go down the route of privatisation then we signal we are no better than other larger states and cities where transport system operations become the whim of private contractors.

Check out the results: increased daily travel costs and unreliability of routes and frequency.    

Mr Marshall and Mr Knoll, for goodness sake do your homework, South Australians want a transport system that suits their needs, not the government coffers.

How many more people services will you continue to stop and or ruin.

Who do you think you serve?  – Mariann McNamara

Musical chairs

Commenting on the story: New public service boss for purged agency

Senior public servants are changed every time the government is changed.

Why should elite managers move to Adelaide when faced with this ideological uncertainty?

I expect that they don’t. Paul Andrew

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We’ll publish the best comments in a regular “Reader Views” post. Your comments can be brief, or we can accept up to 350 words, or thereabouts.

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