When a public asset is privatised, maintenance suffers. This is something well known, a company only interested in making money for it’s shareholders will always seek ways to cut costs (and cutting maintenance costs is a good way to do this).
Take heed New South Wales, this is the lesson that Victoria has learned the hard way.
In November 2007, Singapore‘s SMRT Transit and Hong Kong‘s MTR Corporation Limited expressed interest in taking control of Melbourne’s suburban rail network from Connex in November 2009, when their contract was to be reviewed.
On 25 June 2009, Connex lost its bid to renew its contract with the Victorian Government. Hong Kong backed and owned MTR Corporation took over the Melbourne train network on 30 November 2009, operating as a locally themed consortium Metro Trains Melbourne. MTR is a non-public railway owner and operator in Hong Kong where it is well known for constructing Transit Oriented Developments (TODS) around its stations.
In 2006, Professor Paul Mees and a group of academics estimated in their article “Privatisation of Rail and Tram Services In Melbourne: What Went Wrong?” that privatisation had cost taxpayers $1.2 billion more than if the system had remained both publicly owned and operated. With the franchise extensions in 2009, taxpayers will pay an estimated $2.1 billion more by 2010.
Dr. John Stone wrote in his article “Melbourne’s public transport: performance and prospects after 15 years of ‘privatisation’”
Is Melbourne’s model of single – mode franchising serving the city well?
… franchising is not bringing costs down or improving operational efficiency.
This is despite significant patronage growth, and is contrary to the predictions of the early proponents of franchising.
He also made mention of “the lack of accountability for MTM’s increased maintenance payments”.
Living off the Earnings of Prostitution?
Living off the Earnings of Prostitution is one of those ‘offences’ that have been around forever, in one guise or another and varying forms of words, in just about every jurisdiction, everywhere in the world.
For as surely as night follows day, the first practitioners of the world’s oldest profession attracted parasites, like pimps.
(Ignoring for the moment the other parasites they also attracted, like politicians and tax collectors!).
For, if the act of prostitution was regarded as immoral, pimping was regarded as particularly loathsome, despicable and undesirable, and it was the pimps who were targeted by these laws as the profiteering facilitators of the ‘evil’ trade. Not because it was an evil, immoral and illegal trade, mind. But because the pimps were the first leeches to latch on, leaving no room for the other parasites – like politicians and tax collectors. UNLESS OF COURSE the politicians and tax collectors in question also happened to be pimps, or Pimp-masters collecting kickbacks for issuing Operating Licenses (Tickets) to official, Government Accredited Pimps.
Fast forward, to the more enlightened times of the modern era.
Prostitution is more or less legal, although regulated, in most progressive societies.
But ‘pimping’ continues in the modern era – it’s just better paid (and better hidden) is all, courtesy of the highly skilled specialist Government department, Pimp-master Ticketing, Victoria!
Now, whether it’s ‘art’ or not, it’s intrusive, generally ugly, mostly amateurish and it doesn’t generate any return for the taxpayers who nominally own these rolling billboards, and no rivers of money for the pimp, either – and most pimps regard that as criminal!
In fact, it generates ‘expenses’ for cleaning – and guess who pays for that?
Yep – the taxpayers. And they pay for it, regardless of whether or not the contractors actually do clean it off; regardless of how long it takes them to do it; and regardless of how much the contractors actually profit from the cleaning – and you can be well assured that they do.
Sometimes (though only rarely) trains are removed from service, and the taxpayers can’t travel on trains that aren’t running. Likewise, the pimps can’t make money from trains that aren’t running – either from the running of the train, or the ‘pimping out’ of the taxpayer’s property.
BAD Graffiti also takes up VALUABLE space that could otherwise be occupied by GOOD Graffiti.
Good Graffiti is also intrusive, ugly, amateurish and it doesn’t generate any return for the taxpayers who own the rolling billboards either. But it’s GOOD because it can be used to cover up the Bad Graffiti ‘scratched into’ almost every carriage window in the fleet.
It’s doubly GOOD because it ‘costs’ nothing to apply – that’s factored in to the fees and charges and paid for by the gutter crawler. (Our American friends call them ‘Johns’.) And it’s ESPECIALLY GOOD because it generates rivers of money for the pimp – PURE PROFIT – and the worthless, miserable, long suffering taxpayers get NOTHING! Which is as it should be in the Gospel according to pimps and Pimp master Ticketing, Victoria.
The poor old taxpayer even pays for the electricity that illuminates the Good Graffiti – and just wait to see the volume of ‘lettable space’ that they’ll have available on hectare after hectare of Skyrail infrastructure. What a windfall marketing opportunity that will be!
Now the profits accruing to the pimp (for doing bugger all) are cream. Gravy. Icing on the cake!
BEST OF ALL, it’s all hidden – “Commercial, In Confidence” – whereas once upon a time ‘GOOD’ Graffiti actually delivered revenue to the railway and thereby benefit to the owners of the railway – the taxpayers!
This racket is SO LUCRATIVE, (as in ‘filthy lucre’), that they can even afford to pay agents to manage it for them!
Then there’s Obscene Graffiti – and we just don’t mean ‘rude’, we mean REALLY, DISGUSTINGLY OBSCENE Graffiti! What else can it be, when someone other than the Official Government Accredited Pimp is making money out of it? Proof that ugliness begets ugliness; that one good crime deserves another; that there’s truly no honour among thieves; there’s this!
Now this is actually a very clever usurping of the ‘rights’ and the ‘lettable advertising space’ of the Official Government Accredited Pimp. Commercially made, ‘Lasts Forever’, environmentally unsound, corrugated plastic ‘billboards’ which even mimic the official version, tied to the fencing NEAR, but not ON the station premises. Quickly, but ‘neatly’ applied with cable ties, probably surreptitiously in the dead of night, and sometimes requiring trespass
into ‘secure’ areas. Often, facing both ways, for maximum effect. Expect more of this as the sphere of Tipple’s operations expand, and the inevitable copycats seize upon the genius.
We expect that either the Official Government Accredited Pimps themselves, or Pimp Ticketing, Victoria will pounce on this way faster than they act upon, or enforce, the mandated cleaning of the taxpayer’s properties and rolling stock.
AND we’d be SHOCKED to see the (clearly identifiable) Johns publically prosecuted.
BUT we wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to see the pimps and the usurpers form an unholy alliance to their mutual (commercial, in confidence) benefit. Better to be ‘inside the tent, pissing out’, and all that!
Watch this (advertising) space!