Posts Tagged ‘public transport’

Sport fans can no longer transit to events at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) without commuting through a pool of gambling advertisements.

Richmond Station. Advertising for an online betting company can be found on every platform and station exit. Is the first thing seen as commuters exit the train onto the platform. Source: Alfred Chan

The once iconic Richmond Station which has been synonymous with Australian sporting culture as the transit point for all of Melbourne’s sporting events now contains advertising by an online betting company on all platforms and station exits.

Associate Head of School at Deakin University’s School of Marketing and Management and a registered psychologist, Professor David Bednall questions the growth of Australian betting culture.

“I do have a concern that it’s normalising the association between sport and gambling,” said Bednall.

“It (gambling advertising) appears at footy matches, it appears on television broadcasts of sporting matches.”

“It’s like we’re saying if you like sport, then gambling is part of that sporting culture.”

Flinders Street Station. Melbourne’s busiest transit point contains little to no advertising in comparison to Richmond Station and none from betting companies. Source: Alfred Chan

“That gives me a little concern is that then encourages the new generation of problem gamblers,” said Bednall.

Between January and July of 2012, visits to Australian sport betting websites increased 20 per cent alongside technological advancements which have allowed betting accounts to be accessed from smart phones and tablets.

In 2009, the ABS measured horse racing a sport betting expenditure in Australia to be $2.83 billion. Racing and sport gaming in 2009 had increased 8.5 per cent, almost double non sport/gaming turnover which increased by only 4.6 percent.

Currently, IbisWorld estimate horse racing and sport betting revenue in Australia to be approximately $4 billion annually at a growth rate of 2.6 per cent.

This significant swing in gaming revenue away from casino and lottery revenue to racing and sport have grown parallel with online betting companies in the Australian market. Several are now some of Australia’s biggest sporting sponsors.

“A lot of our public policy concern is about problem gamblers and how big that group is, [is] open to public dispute,” said Bednall.

“Something like one or two per cent of the adult population but typically they account for a disproportionate amount of spending on gambling.”

“It’s something like forty per cent of losses are accounted for by that one or two per cent so they are way over.”

“For people who are problem gamblers, they have extreme problems. Not just the harm they cause for themselves but friends, loved ones and acquaintances around them.  In some cases people have stolen money from employers and charities.”

“That small group causes a disproportionate harm to themselves and the broader community.”

Now with sport gambling advertising at Richmond Station, sport goers which include problem gamblers, are subjected to the advertising on every platform and station exit.

Follow Alfred Chan on Twitter: @AlfredC91

Step into any given tram, and you will see anxious students sitting sideways or looking out the window. Taking a guess at the source of their worries, it is but of course the dilemma of whether or not an Authorised Officer (AO), or inspector, as they are more commonly referred to among public transport users, is about to hop on at the next stop, or if they will be lucky enough to reach their destination freely, having fare evaded.

Having had enough of passengers getting away with free rides while tax payers compensate for them, Metlink teamed-up with Melbourne-based agency Marmelade in late 2011 to create a TeleVision Commercial (TVC), still currently aired in attempt to reduce fare evasion.

In April, the State Government established a new transport agency named Public Transport Victoria (PTV) by merging the Public Transport Division of the Department of Transport with Metlink. PTV carries out all functions previously undertaken by Metlink. Public Transport CEO, Ian Dobbs says now that Myki has become the sole ticketing system, Transport Ticketing Authority is also included.

Meanwhile, the Metlink TVC has been re-branded under PTV. Under an advertising campaign promising “more checks, more fines, more often” to combat Victoria’s steadily rising number of fare evaders.

According to the Department of Transport’s Network Revenue Protection Plan in 2009, the total network-wide cost of fare evasion is $62,018,697 million per year, as-of the first half of 2009. The biggest cost is on trams ($35 million), followed by trains ($21.5 million) and buses ($5.5 million).

In addition, PTV states that fare evaders make more than 225,000 trips a week on Victoria’s buses, trains and trams. Representing 13 per cent of passengers, forcing paying customers to cover the costs.

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Station Officer Simon Landy says the number of ticket inspectors has increased on the Belgrave line where he is based.

“They do three shifts, so, early, mid and late. If I’m here, through you know, the change over of their shift, I could see up to 12, otherwise it’s six,” Mr Landy says.

Passenger Jessica Lim fears the increased monitoring may not be rightly targeting fare evaders, but rather harshly fining unlucky law-abiding citizens.

I had a ticket, I validated it, and there was something wrong with it, and I didn’t check the screen, so I went out in Melbourne Central, and they had no leniency,” Ms Lim says. “They charged me like a $180 fine. I tried to reason with them and explain that I either I had a faulty ticket or the machine at my stop wasn’t working, but there was no reasoning with them really.

Ms Lim’s observations only confirm reports in italks in 2010, that revealed,

“public transport users felt Melbourne’s ticket inspectors were heavy-handed, lacked leniency and obsessed with raising revenue.”

According to the Network Revenue Protection Plan, many travelers refuse to pay because they believe Melbourne’s public transport service is below standard. The report details that recent research into perceptions of ticket inspectors show. Negative perceptions have been reinforced over time, through both the media and through personal experiences.

“They are seen to exercise significant authority without building legitimacy with customers through protecting and serving them,” the report stated.

Despite this, the Herald Sun recently published an article, in which a report by Auditor-General Des Pearson found “the cost of introducing the Myki smart card will blow out by another $350 million, on top of the existing $1.5 billion price tag, to cover the cost of lost fare revenue to Metro and Yarra Trams.” Fare evasion is in fact on the rise since the introduction of Myki.

To listen to the story with more interviews, click on the following podcast.

Long commutes may be a frustrating facet of workers’ everyday lives, but new research released by the American Journal of Preventative Medicine (AJPM) shows that the impacts may be far worse for our physical and mental health than first thought.

Click here to read the full report.

Our cities are getting bigger and more expensive, which means people are moving further away from CBD’s. We now see a higher percentage of the population travelling further, spending hours every day commuting to and from work.

In Melbourne it is estimated the average adult spends approximately two hours every weekday in transit to and from their employment. Such as twenty four year old Matt Heenan, who spends over two hours in his car travelling to work five days a week.

“I just sit in traffic, it’s terrible, but I have no choice,” says Heenan.

“It leaves little opportunity for me to do other things, like exercise or socialise.”

Long commutes are found to be associated with a decrease in cardio-respiratory fitness, increased weight and high blood pressure.

“Long commuting distance is a contributor to sedentary behaviour in employed adults,” explains Dr Christine M. Hoehner from Washington University.

“The study from AJPM shows the relationship between time spent commuting and cardiovascular mortality.”

Those travelling on public transport account for twenty percent of Melbourne’s population, or 1.7 million passengers every day. Barista Adam Percy spends over two hours every work day on public transport.

“I spend so much time waiting for and travelling on trams, trains and buses; it doesn’t give me much time to get to the gym. I’m so exhausted by the end of the day,” Percy explains.

“I think my immune system is on overload, sharing a crammed tram with people coughing and sneezing.”

Within the Melbourne CBD itself, 62% of workers journey to their jobs on trams, trains and buses; whilst 29% come by car. But sedentary behaviour doesn’t only have an impact on commuters’ physical health, the report from AJPM shows that long commutes can affect mental wellbeing also.

How Melbourians Get to Work
(Courtesy of the ABS.gov.au)

“Long commutes may lead to a reduction in overall energy expenditure,” notes Hoehner.

Mental exhaustion can be caused by lower serotonin levels in the brain, the chemical produced by the body when exercising. The AJPM study found that people who drove longer distances to work reported less frequent participation in physical exercise and high rates of mental exhaustion.

“Sometimes I arrive at the office feeling like I’ve already worked an entire day after fighting the traffic just to get here,” says Natalie Kocovski, a 25 year old, full time employee who spends up to three hours every day in transit.

“It’s just exhausting, it definitely has a noticeable negative impact on my physical and emotional health.”

Whilst there may be no way for the majority of workers to avoid long trips to and from their jobs, commuters can be mindful about the importance of engaging in some physical and relaxation activities when possible for overall better health outcomes.

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Crushing Problems For Myki

Posted: May 22, 2012 by sonsieau in Melbourne
Tags: , , ,

By Michael Sones

The problem prone Myki card ticketing system faces issues as the switch over from Metcard continues. As the number of Myki users tops 40% of passengers, the system is causing headaches for users as queues to “touch on, and touch off” at stations growing, especially at peak hour.

Station entrances and exists are not designed for use of the Myki card and some passengers have been noticing large queues at Myki readers leading to scrums trying to force their way through doors. Some have referred to this backing up of passengers as a Myki Crush, and all see it as a nuisance.

With the original rollout date for Myki beginning on the 29th of December 2009 and Metcards ceasing being sold during the last four months, it begs the question, when will this mess get sorted out?

As the issues are felt amongst the public some groups have started to organise protests. Fightback, an Australian protest group, is holding a protest on the 25th of May to the voice their disgust in the runaway spending and bad service that has plagued the Myki system. Their Facebook event for the protest has already garnered two hundred and fifty attending.

When contacted for comment a Myki Customer Care Officer stated, “we advise that when Myki is rolled out across the public transport network, stations will be made to accommodate for additional Myki machines or Myki readers and gates.” This is further backed up by a recent media release from the Minister for Public Transport that stated they would be, “[furthering] installation of Myki equipment.”

But that won’t help solve the problem faced at some of the outer stations where there’s limited space for additional gates. Stations like Bayswater are built in a way that would prevent additional gates being constructed without a major structural overhaul adding more to the already exorbitant costs attributed to the ticketing scheme.

Myki readers have also become a target for vandals, who damage the screens or smash the readers completely, rendering the machines out of order and causing more of a backlog.

Satisfaction in Melbourne’s public transport system is at an all time high, despite issues with the new ticketing system, with Metro Trains boasting high rates of delivery and punctuality. Or if you’re disappointed in the service provided click here for more information on the Fightback protest.

Just remember to “touch on, and touch off”.

by Colette Dixon


Are trains the problem with Melbourne’s public transport system or are they the symptom of a bigger problem which for far too long has been over looked?

There is clearly a long way to go and too many undelivered promises to promote the passenger trains in Melbourne. There is an urgent need to produce an economic miracle on the heavy rail links.

The severe overcrowding during peak hours on the Metro trains has become worse since last year. But it has been revealed that the Baillieu government will shove out 50 million to enhance an anti-congestion upgrade.

“The government should be expanding the train network, it is horrendous to see so many people on one train”, says Nick Clarke, a passenger who uses public transport faithfully.

Melbourne is growing and so should be the Metro trains. Passengers travelling to the city every morning and out of the city every evening are struggling with problems such as traffic congestion on trains.

“Millions of dollars is promised for the regional rail link lines. The Bailieu Government revealed a committed Budget to build an infrastructure for the railway lines, so let’s see when that would be followed up,” says, a Metro employee.

During the on-peak hours, train services are delayed because the excuse is that the ‘trains are too overcrowded’.  What is unclear is how much time these new trains will take to build and the operating patterns and other constraints.

Nikita Bhoir, a university student who relies on public transport, says “if you had 10 trains per hour that could be 450 less people needing another train to go back home from work on weekdays”.

The train network does not cover today’s Melbourne.

The Ted Baillieu Government appears to be incapable of making a rational decision where big infrastructure projects for new trains, are concerned. It is fixated on the determination to go ahead with the construction for new trains but the ideas proposals and promises are easier being said than achieved.