Transportation is one of the key elements or any urban infrastructure. The smooth running and frequency aid the movement of the population. In lieu of a flagging train and tram system in Adelaide, the South Australian Government announced its plan of privatizing the service to get the entire working structure revamped.
The government will open the system by putting out tenders for potential contracts. This decision has come after a careful study of the performance of the services that have not lived up to standards in the recent past. The bus services were privatized in 2000. Now the trams and metro go the same route. Transport Minister Stephan Knoll, opines the need for this, stating that Adelaide’s public transport services have one of the lowest patronages in the country. Statistics show only half the population availing the services found it to their satisfaction. 56 per cent of train and tram users and 54 per cent of bus passengers thought the service was a value for their money.
Privatization to improve standards of services, will give in the hands of the corporates but the government will still control rail assets and possess the authority to set fare prices for passengers. This announcement did not sit well with many. Getting a severe backlash from certain segments. Labor transport spokesman Tom Koutsantonis, one of the many who are opposing says that the government will really be risking losing public support if this proceeds as privatization was termed to be a strict “no entry” zone as promised by them. Privatization, “means worse services, worse amenity and higher fares and I think that this is a fundamental error by the Government”, he said.
However, the minister, backed by strong survey, is convinced that this decision will be in the interest of the people of Adelaide. “The biggest things that our customers told us was that we need to improve reliability, that we need to improve overcrowding on certain sections of our network and we also need to improve the frequency of service,” Mr Knoll said.