Friday, 30 July 2010

Set my trains free

Today, the citizens of Melbourne all enjoyed a day of free Metro train rides: it was a compensation for the havoc caused on Tuesday, when a train stuck at a critical position due to a power cable's fault caused the entire network to die for a few hours (and caused us to spend hours of that day in stop-and-go traffic).
Let's have a think:
  • According to the news, the cost of that free train ride day was a million dollars (read here).
  • The cost of the Melbourne's Myki ticketing system is now estimated to be around 1.3 billion dollars (read here and here for just a couple of examples of the project's cost estimate).
  • Now let's do the math: If our government was to avoid running a ticketing system and instead opt to turn Melbourne into a free for all train network, we could have had 1300 days of free rides without feeling any financial difference from where we actually are now.
That's three and a half years of free public transport! Not to mention the other benefits a move like this would have brought Melbourne, from greenhouse emission reductions through making ticket inspectors redundant. But that's fantasy land I'm stuck in here; in real life, we're all stuck with a state government whose last priority is to provide the public good service.

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