Population ponzi overruns Melbourne’s trains

By Leith van Onselen

With record population growth currently flooding Melbourne:

And the city’s population expected to swell to by 70%-plus to 8 million mid-century (or ten million at the current rate):

ScreenHunter_15632 Oct. 23 12.16

Melbourne’s train system is being crush-loaded, with three of Melbourne’s metro train lines already breaching capacity at peak hour and two more expected to follow suit within the next two years. From The Age:

The crowd crushes and heavy disruption experienced during the morning peak on the Sunbury, Craigieburn and Upfield lines will soon become the norm on the Cranbourne, Pakenham and Werribee lines.

The city’s rail operator… says the problem is most urgent on the “northern group” of lines that service Melbourne’s booming north-west.

The Sunbury, Craigieburn and Upfield lines share one of the City Loop’s four tunnels and are all experiencing rapid patronage growth and worsening overcrowding.

The government’s solution to the issue is the Metro Tunnel, which is due to open in 2026, but Metro has said there is “an urgent need” to find an answer now…

The warning is contained in Metro’s 2016 Strategic Operational Plan, which was leaked to Fairfax Media… [It] warned the government that Melbourne’s rail network needs significant taxpayer investment to fix a host of problems, such as peak-hour congestion in the City Loop, rail bottlenecks, and ageing trains and signals…

Micro-data released earlier in the year by the ABS revealed that the lion’s share of Melbourne’s manic population growth has occurred in the Northern and Western Suburbs:

However, this data preceded the results of the 2016 Census, which significantly revised-up Victoria’s (Melbourne’s) population growth. So the growth experienced in these areas was likely even worse.

Regardless, the shenanigans on Melbourne’s trains is only one symptom of the Australia’s immigration-fueled population ponzi. To this you can add congested roads, less affordable (and smaller) homes, schools bursting at the seams, and overall reduced resident amenity.

Of course, anyone with half a brain knows what is primarily driving the destruction in Melbourne’s livability: the federal government’s mass immigration program.

According to the Productivity Commission’s recent Migrant Intake into Australia report, Australia’s population is projected to grow to around 41 million mid-century under current mass immigration settings. This is roughly 14 million more people than would arrive into Australia under zero net overseas migration:

Clearly, the best way to avert Melbourne’s looming infrastructure disaster, as well as maintain resident living standards, is for the the State Government to tap its federal counterpart on the shoulder and demand they slash Australia’s immigration program.

Sadly, the Turnbull Government in May announced that it would maintain Australia’s permanent migrant intake at a record 205,000 people a year in 2017-18 without a whiff of opposition from Labor or the fake Greens:

Hence Melbourne’s living standards are destined to be crush-loaded for the foreseeable future.

And for what?

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Unconventional Economist
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  1. Little typo:

    However, this data proceeded the results – should read However, this data preceded the results

  2. HadronCollision

    I suppose Sunburyites could hotfoot it to Clarkefield Riddle or Gisborne a bit earlier and travel to the city in the relative comfort of Vline. More exy of course so maybe the govt can cheapen vline from those stations (and all beyond ie Woodend Macedon Malmsbury etc).

    No easy answers

    Poor [email protected]

  3. Shinjuku Station in Tokyo processes 3.6 million passengers a day. Anything is possible when done right, Tsukuru Tazaki. Australia always thinks so small I guess our big skies crowd our ambitions.

    • They’re Japanese though. I think political decisions need to take into account that we are Australians. Mostly.


    • The bullet train railway is entirely overground – even through Tokyo.

      Aussies properly would not even accept an elevated railway running along the median of the Nepean Highway.

    • The Japanese are good at train etiquette. I can’t say the same for new arrivals here. The notion of letting departing passengers off first is completely lost on some cultures.

      • 先下,后上 first off, after on (i.e please let departing passengers exit before entering the train) has been on the Beijing subway PA system and in signs for over a decade.

  4. to add to this I have been cruising the burbs of Geetroit of late and it is nothing but splice and dice and cram punters in wherever you look.

    The Armstrong’s Creek Warralilly scene is basically being infilled from Grovedale down, and the back end of Highton (already one of the most stressed locales for mortgages) is expanding further still, and anyone cruising out Lara way will be shocked at all the subdivision already underway.

    As soon as the refinery is shunted into history my money would be on Corio (yes Corio home of refugees and poor people – its only 45 mins from the Melb CBD by train) will be developed into something far nicer, revolving around the coast and Geelong grammar with the Avalon airport being spiffed up a tad.

    The strip between Corio and Bacchus Marsh is being lined with warehouses and sheds too

    How much longer before the Western burbs of Melbourne are as bloated as the Eastern?

    The state government is already talking about extending the Waurn ponds train line to Torcool.  I tend to the view they need to run a loop back up the Western side of the freeway connecting back to the mainline somewhere out Lara way.  But a look at that Chart implies Geelong is going to become a mega parasite of aged care and government agencies slipped in to keep employment up.  I am also concerned about the prospects for Armstrongs Creek and Cliftons Springs to become aged ghettoes

  5. A bunch of these issues could be solved/mitigated with a bit of economic theory put into practice – but the ‘Private’ operators have no incentive to put them into practice.

    Melbourne does not have peak and off-peak pricing for public transport or the road tolls. If transport was cheaper (or free for Seniors on buses in Adelaide off-peak) off-peak then you would probably reduce demand during peak times by up to 10%. But why would a private operator do that?

  6. Leaving Melbourne was one of the best decisions I’ve made, such an expensive rat-race!

    • Leaving Melbourne 47 years ago was one of the best decisions I’ve made, such an expensive rat-race!