AusRAIL, Market Sectors

Time for Melbourne airport rail link ? Part Two

<span class="" id="parent-fieldname-description"> A Melbourne economist has called for a new study into the feasibility of an airport rail link for Melbourne. </span> <p><strong>To read Part one of this story click <a href="">here</a></strong></p><p>By Sean Stephens*</p><p>A&nbsprail link that transports air travellers, workers and other airport users would be an important step in confirming Melbourne’s status as a genuine global city, and the state government should urgently reconsider the project now.</p><p><strong>Airport rail links around the world</strong><br />There is no indication that Melbourne Airport generates levels of passenger traffic too low to support an airport rail link.</p><p>Melbourne Airport currently supports 12,000 employees and generates 25 million passenger movements per annum.</p><p>The state government’s delay in considering what is vitally important rail infrastructure in a modern global city may be hindering traveller access to cheap and speedy travel, and potentially costing the state jobs and investment.</p><p>My report examines 52 global cities and finds that at present, 34 have existing airport rail links with a further 10 cities having a rail link under construction or as a committed policy.</p><p>Currently 12 global cities, such as London, have two running rail lines which typically include a suburban rail connection and either an express or fast rail link.</p><p>Airport rail links across the world are now considered an important airport connection for locals, tourists and businesses alike, and are often cited as a factor in deciding whether cities are of &quotglobal city&quot status.</p><p>Of the&nbsp25 global cities with lower airport passenger numbers than Melbourne Airport, 12 have an existing rail link and 6 other cities have a link under construction or with project commitment.</p><p>Cities with lower air passenger numbers than Melbourne are seeing the benefits of an airport rail link and the Victorian Government must recognise that Melbourne is increasingly being seen as missing out on fast, efficient and cheap airport access.</p><p><strong>New transport alternative</strong><br />Early next year, the government will launch a new SmartBus route which will run every 15 minutes to and from the airport to Broadmeadows railway station.</p><p>While supporting improvements to accessibility, such bus links are inconvenient for many travellers who need to get to the city quickly and would be of marginal overall benefit.</p><p>Victoria needs a new transport alternative that gets airport passengers off the roads and to their destination quickly, safely and cheaply.</p><p>Other Australian cities, including Brisbane, which is experiencing an increase in patronage on its previously much-criticised airport rail link.</p><p>In 2008, Brisbane’s Airtrain announced a profit of $4.8m and now services nearly two million passengers each year.</p><p>A rail link will assist Melbourne in maintaining its world class status where visitors and locals can access Melbourne Airport, our gateway to the world, with ease and convenience.</p><p>*Sean Stephens is an urban economist at Essential Economics: <a target="_blank" _kukitmark="1" href=""></a><br />&nbsp</p>