Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Fire Connex, transport expert says -

by Clay Lucas

Connex says Melbourne's trains should stay in private hands.

Connex says Melbourne's trains should stay in private hands. Photo: John Woudstra

RAIL operator Connex should be sacked and management of Melbourne's suburban trains brought back into public hands, prominent transport academic says.

- 'Dismal' performance
- Tunnel proposal slammed
- New contract

Melbourne University transport planner Nick Low says Connex has performed dismally.

Professor Low will tell a transport conference today the State Government should not renew Connex's contract for the rail network. The contract expires next year.

"I'm absolutely convinced that Connex has made a complete mess of it," Professor Low told The Age.

In a speech today to the Municipal Association of Victoria's strategic transport planning conference, Professor Low will argue that the Government must bring the rail system back under public control.

Connex has failed to manage the system to the benefit of rail travellers, Professor Low argues, by not doing everything possible to run more services and reduce waiting times.

"The Government would be wise to not reappoint Connex to run the suburban railways, and wiser still to bring the whole operation back into public hands," he says.


In his speech, Professor Low attacks a proposal by Sir Rod Eddington to build a $9 billion road tunnel from Footscray to Clifton Hill.

The road tunnel proposal will only encourage more people to drive into the city instead of taking public transport, he will say today.

If the road tunnel were to be built, it would encourage future freeways through inner parts of Melbourne, to relieve the traffic pressure it would create...

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