For every kilometre travelled, scheduled buses pick up just over one passenger; and for every passenger picked up the state pays the operators $4.19. For every kilometre travelled, trains pick up just over nine passengers and the state pays the operators $2.57 for each of them. For every kilometre travelled, trams pick up more than six passengers and the state pays Yarra Trams just 98 cents each.
The Government claims to be worried about greenhouse gases. Trams are responsible for under 12 grams of carbon dioxide per passenger-kilometre; the newer trains are responsible for less (although the older Hitachi and ComEng trains with their friction brakes generate about 60 grams); while buses generate about 80 grams. A medium-sized car generates more than 200 grams.
On economic grounds it is trams first, trains second, and buses nowhere. On environmental grounds it is again trams first, trains second, and buses behind either. On popularity grounds trains slightly shade trams, while once again buses trail far in the rear.
What has our economically rational, environmentally aware Government chosen to do?
In spite of the huge success of the Box Hill and South Vermont extensions, the tramway network is to go 15 years without any further "significant" extensions. The rail system is to be the subject of some minor bottleneck reduction and some feasibility studies. Meanwhile, hundreds of millions of dollars is to be spent on running more unpopular, polluting and very expensive buses.
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