Melbourne’s airport rail another rip-off infrastructure project

An $18 user surcharge is expected to be levied on the users of Melbourne’s airport rail link, according to secret documents:

Passengers on the long-awaited Melbourne Airport Rail Link face a special $18 surcharge to catch the train to Tullamarine.

The Herald Sun can reveal the project’s secret business case, which is yet to be ­released, uses the fee in its analysis of operating costs.

If added to the price of a two-hour myki fare, the most adults would pay to get to the airport via public transport from anywhere in Melbourne would be $22.50…

State and federal governments have committed $5bn each to fund the mega-link, which is set to cost at least $10bn and be built by the end of this decade.

Once opened, it would pave the way for 30-minute trips from the heart of the CBD to the airport, with services every 10 minutes.

It is understood the business case for the project is close to being released, and several packages of work to build the link are already out to market…

At the moment, Skybus costs $19.75 for a one-way adult trip to the airport, or $32 for a return journey.

The lack of business case is a red flag. This $10 billion project should have been first subjected to a rigorous business case and cost-benefit analysis before funding was committed, not after the fact. That the reverse is true shows just how busted Australia’s infrastructure system is.

Stopping at existing stations would mean these airport trains would compete with the existing congested commuter network, making them both slow and crowded.

Meanwhile, the existing SkyBus service – which costs taxpayers nothing – already achieves similar travel times at a similar projected ticket cost.

Other than tourists and those living in the CBD, I cannot envisage many locals actually using an airport rail link. Why? Because they would still need to get to the CBD, where the cost of parking is equally exorbitant as the airport. This means passengers would either have to carry luggage on the public transport network, or catch a cab. In which case, why not just go directly to the airport and avoid the changeover hassles?

Unconventional Economist

Comments are hidden for Membership Subscribers only.