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Author Topic: Perth train services facing about $30 million annual budget cuts for four years  (Read 950 times)

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Perth Now --> Perth train services facing about $30 million annual budget cuts for four years

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TRAIN services across Perth seem set to be slashed as the Barnett Government makes major cuts to its transport budget.

Transport officials have been told they must find about $30 million of savings annually over the next four years.

Insiders say it has been made clear to the Government’s razor gang that the only way to make the “significant cuts” is to reduce train services at weekends and at night.

One senior source said even peak-period services might have to be scaled back. A lot of the department’s costs, from maintenance to security, had already been outsourced as part of an efficiency drive, further limiting options for more savings.

Another insider said cutting services would mean job losses too.

“The best way to find savings is to shed staff,” he said.

“The Government won’t want to say that because they know they’d be faced with striking rail workers.”

Transport Minister Dean Nalder said yesterday he would not comment on “speculation”. The transport budget is about $800 million annually.

The Sunday Times revealed in October that a $1.2 billion promise of 300 “next generation” railcars to improve Perth’s train system would be shelved.

The Government had said the “C-Series” railcars would have a “larger capacity for patrons”, with bigger doors so commuters could get off and on more quickly.

But after The Sunday Times report, Mr Nalder confirmed the plan would be shelved because it was a “prudent and sensible approach (in) the current economic climate”.

He also confirmed Treasury had considered a scheme to make commuters pay more to use public transport during peak times in a bid to raise revenue.

Earlier this year, community unrest forced Mr Nalder to backflip on a plan to scrap late-night train services from the city on Friday and Saturday nights.

That measure would have saved just $1.5 million.

Opposition Leader Mark McGowan said the savage cuts to the transport budget were “madness” that would lead to even worse congestion on the roads.

“If you take the axe to train services you push more cars out on to the road and only make congestion worse,” he said.

“This is shortsighted penny-pinching. This will ... force patrons away from public transport when we should be doing all we can to encourage more people on to trains.

“When you cut services and force down patronage, the cost of running our trains will increase so the idea that this will save money will backfire.”

He said the budget cuts would not be needed if Mr Barnett hadn’t “blown the books” during the mining boom with “financial mismanagement”.
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ABC News --> Cuts to WA train services ruled out as Government tries to limit spending
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“You can't understand a city without using its public transportation system.” -- Erol Ozan