Melbourne, your public transport woes refuse to alight.
With the city already going through a myriad of tram, and train strikes, coupled with a concurrent taxi strike that have virtually shut the central city down, and caused people to put multiple work days completely into the bin, the dispute between the Rail, Tram, and Bus Union and their corporate overlords has things on a constant teetering edge as is.
But the beef the Unions have extends beyond the operating companies, as it turns out, with the Andrews State Government also drawing the ire of the Union with its widely heralded plan to introduce 24-hour weekend public transport next year.
The plan, as it stands, means that on weekends trains would run every hour beyond normal operating timetables on all lines, with select key tram routes operating every 30 minutes, and late night busses servicing regional centres like Geelong and Ballarat.
Despite the widespread public support for the scheme, called Homesafe – which was a key election promise for Victorian Labor‘s successful recent election campaign – the proposal has already hit snags.
For starters, the budget has already blown out by some $33.6million, thanks in large part to some dingus with a calculator who forgot to factor in the cost of putting on Protective Services Officers (train cops) to cover the overnight shifts.
But the Union – who is in favour of the scheme, it should be noted – has expressed extreme concern that the planned staffing levels are not enough.
The Government’s plan as it stands would see 35 of the 78 premium train stations staffed on the overnight shift. The Rail Union is not even remotely satisfied with that amount.
The Herald Sun today has posted correspondence from RTBU state secretary Luba Grigorovitch to state Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan, which includes this mic drop of a sentence.
“In its current form, I can guarantee that Homesafe will not commence on January 1.”
The argument from the Union is that more Protective staff are required for such a large and unusual increase in services.
The Government fully intends to move ahead with the plan, which is scheduled to begin on New Year’s Eve this year.
But given this year, and the Union’s hair trigger when it comes to stopwork action, who would bloody know.
Long story short, it’s probably your best bet to just dust off that old Razor Scooter and start carrying that bad boy around with you everywhere.
Photo: Michael Dodge via Getty Images.
via Herald Sun.