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Airport transport

General Transport Discussion not specific to one state

Airport transport

Postby Roderick Smith » Tue Jan 09, 2018 2:46 pm

Roderick.

9.1.18 Australia's airport transport: The number one problem - it's not the queues.
The crucial problem with Australia's airports is not the queues. Photo: Peter Braig Anyone who has used an Australian airport already knows what the problem is. You encounter it before you've even arrived. You go through it every single time. It's unavoidable.
Of course, this problem isn't the only one. There are plenty of complaints you could make about the terminals across the country. These are venues where the wishes of the clients (aka, the air passengers) seem to have been put last, where new shops and other places to spend money are trumpeted as progress, where hassles and discomfort are part of accepted practice.
It's only once you fly to Asia that you realise how things at airports could be. You go to Singapore's Changi and discover that, as well as all the new shops, there are facilities people can use to actually make their experience there more pleasurable, things like butterfly gardens and rooftop pools and live sport playing on a giant screen. Or you go to Seoul-Incheon and discover a golf driving range and a world-class museum.
Queuing time at these airports is minimal. Security is tight but efficient. You're in and out of there with the minimum of fuss.
That's what people really want in an airport. Failing that though, most of us would just accept somewhere that is relatively cheap and easy to get to. And that's the problem in Australia; that's where most of our airports are letting us down.
There was a great story in The Sydney Morning Herald on the weekend about getting to and from the airport in Sydney. This is one of only two cities in Australia with a rail link to the airport, and yet the cost of that link is so spectacularly high as to render it almost unusable. At up to $17 per person in peak hour to take the train from Central Station to the domestic or international terminals, it's far cheaper to take an Uber if you have more than one person. Even if you're on your own, it's close.
And you see the results of that disincentive to take the train every time you visit Sydney airport. There are huge queues of cars these days just to get dropped off, particularly at the international terminal. Traffic stretches down the road in either direction at busy times in the early morning.
See also: Secret routes: The cheapest ways to get to Australia's airports We've got to the point where travellers are looking for sneaky ways in now, to get around the huge "access fee" that rail passengers are forced to pay, and the queues that everyone in taxis and Ubers will be experiencing. People are taking the train to nearby Wolli Creek and walking the rest of the way. And this should be Australia's flagship airport.
And though Sydney seems to be the worst offender, it's not as if many of the rest of Australia's airports are any better. Brisbane at least has a rail link, which at $15 for a 22-minute, 18-kilometre journey from the city is not too horrendously priced (Central to the airport in Sydney is half that distance, but costs more).
Melbourne's airport, meanwhile, in Tullamarine, is notoriously expensive and difficult to access. There's no rail link, leaving passengers at the mercy of taxis, Ubers and the Skybus. The cheapest of those transport options, Skybus, is $19 each way (unless you want to spend more than an hour getting to Tullamarine from the city on regular public transport). Taxis are more than $55 each way, while an Uber will be more than $40.
Politicians have talked of vague plans for an airport rail link in Melbourne, but there's nothing concrete just yet – at best it seems it will take at least a decade.
In Hobart, an airport shuttle will cost you $19. In Perth, the domestic and international terminals are a crazy 9 kilometres apart, and there are very limited public transport options for getting into the city. The Gold Coast's airport is not even really in the Gold Coast.
Adelaide Airport, at least, is close to the city, and it doesn't cost too much to access Canberra's terminal.
For a nation of travellers though, we seem to have to put up with some fairly average conditions in which to do that travel. Pretty much every major airport in Australia has some sort of access issue, and by far the two busiest – Sydney and Melbourne, which between them host the world's second-busiest air route – are also by far the most expensive and problematic.
Airport owners and designers seem to think we want more shops and restaurants at these places, fancy-looking facilities that peddle all of the mod-cons. Those are the things they boast about improving.
But surely what travellers actually want is ease of access. They want something that mirrors Hong Kong or Kuala Lumpur – airports with fast, frequent and affordable rail links that make travel just that little bit easier.
Solve that, and then we can think about the shops.
Do you think Australia's airports are difficult to access? Should Sydney's rail link be cheaper? Should Melbourne have better public transport? What is Australia's best airport?
Email: b.groundwater@fairfaxmedia.com.au
See also: World's busiest air routes named: Melbourne-Sydney now No.2.
See also: World's best airline for 2017 named as Qantas hits lowest ranking
www.traveller.com.au/australias-airport ... ues-h0f4r8
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Re: Airport transport

Postby Tim Williams » Tue Jan 09, 2018 10:00 pm

High speed trains cost a lot of money and the trains would still not permit day productive return trips for business people - a 3 or 4 hour train journey in each direction leaves very little time to conduct business. During my business career, I undertook quite a number of interstate day trips by planes, that were productive/worthwhile.

So, if we assume a fair proportion of the market for the high speed trains would be friends/family and vacations, then I doubt the numbers would be there.
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Re: Airport transport

Postby Tim Williams » Tue Jan 09, 2018 10:02 pm

Sorry I meant to post this to "city pairs"
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Re: Airport transport

Postby krustyklo » Tue Jan 09, 2018 11:11 pm

Melbourne's airport, meanwhile, in Tullamarine, is notoriously expensive and difficult to access. There's no rail link, leaving passengers at the mercy of taxis, Ubers and the Skybus. The cheapest of those transport options, Skybus, is $19 each way (unless you want to spend more than an hour getting to Tullamarine from the city on regular public transport). Taxis are more than $55 each way, while an Uber will be more than $40.
Politicians have talked of vague plans for an airport rail link in Melbourne, but there's nothing concrete just yet – at best it seems it will take at least a decade.

Interestingly the PTV journey planner suggests "regular public transport" takes between 50 and 60 minutes mostly. A quick look for tomorrow morning 7am from Southern Cross to the airport not using Skybus (ie, train to Boradmeadows and 901 bus) has a 6.18am departure arriving 7.15am, 6.36am / 7.30am, 6.54am / 8am (the only trip "more than an hour", 7.15am / 8.15am, 7.30am / 8.30am, 7.49am / 8.45am, 8.06am / 9am, 8.18am / 9.15am. And so on. So this part of the article is already less than believable. By way of comparison, every Skybus journey is timed for 36 minutes and there are buses every 10 minutes. Given it is only 18 to 24 minutes quicker for most journeys but nearly $15 more than a zone 1 and 2 fare, I'm surprised more people don't just use the train / bus option!

The Gold Coast's airport is not even really in the Gold Coast.

Melbourne airport from the Bourke St Mall is 21.8km by road according to Google Maps, and Gold Coast airport is 25.4km by road from Surfers Paradise. On that basis you might as well claim Melbourne Airport is not in Melbourne. Public transport is easy enough at regular fares, albeit not overly quick (70-80 minutes by bus and tram). Maybe they need a high speed rail link at great expense too, although I think there was some plan to extend the existing railway to Coolangatta eventually. Is that still a thing?

In Perth, the domestic and international terminals are a crazy 9 kilometres apart, and there are very limited public transport options for getting into the city.

In the late 90s my girlfriend of the time and I got a mystery flight to Perth for the day. We used public transport to get around, including from the airport terminal. The bus didn't seem too bad with never waiting long to either leave or return to the airport, and after we went to Fremantle I convinced her to let us go for a ride on the relatively new train up the freeway to Joondalup. Either way, it wasn't any more or less limited than any other airport I've been to (admittedly not many - Sydney pre rail link where the taxi queues in the am peak were so bad I convinced my work colleague to use the Airport Explorer bus and train to get to Pymble, Gold Coast, and Perth. And some overseas ones where we used shuttle buses.)
Just because there's only one mode doesn't make Perth Airport public transport limited! A quick look suggests the 380 runs every 30 minutes and takes 33 minutes to get from the airport to the city bus station. Quicker than Skybus in Melbourne by 3 minutes...

The whole thing seems a bit of a clickbait whingefest. If you need to be quick, get a taxi. If you want convenience and can trade off some time to reduce the cost over a taxi, use the Skybus / Sydney airport link / Skybus / other specialised service catering for airport to CBD travel. If you want to do it cheaply, use the regular public transport, available at all of those airports with a trivial amount of research. In most cases it isn't even much longer (18-30 minutes in the case of Melbourne). Having so much choice but wanting the more expensive option at Myki prices = #firstworldproblems...
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Re: Airport transport

Postby tonyp » Wed Jan 10, 2018 6:23 am

Fairfax and the ABC regularly vie for the guernsey of sloppiest journalism on these sort of topics. They never check things out properly, notably journey planners.

It's worth mentioning that Perth airport is getting a rail line in a couple of years but nevertheless the existing Transperth bus service to the city (40 is even better from domestic than 380) is excellent. Even with interchange at Victoria Park to the 910, I've been getting to and from Fremantle in quieter times in only about 10 minutes longer than it takes by taxi (and about $60 cheaper!). There's also a shuttle bus between the two terminals - which will not be needed when the two terminals eventually become one.

One problem is that public bus systems have such a basic reputation with the general public that it doesn't occur to most people to catch a route bus to the airport, yet some of these services are excellent.

Another semi-public transport mode that's emerged strongly in recent years is the long-term carpark with the shuttle to the terminals provided by the likes of Carbridge. These have become very busy indeed with buses (at least in my experience at Sydney airport) often packed with up to 60 people despite 10 minute headways. And that's not to mention suitcases as well!
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Re: Airport transport

Postby Bjwh86 » Thu Jan 11, 2018 2:39 pm

Transport to and from Sydney Airport is in my opinion excellent in comparison to alot of other places.

I have used the trains to get to and from the International Terminal 7 times in a 12 month period and never had a problem. I took a train from my origin station to Central, made the change to an airport line train and they always ran ontime.

I regularly use Manila International Airport and there is a vast difference between the two.

I know, first world vs third world, but just because a country says it’s poor, doesn’t mean it can’t improve it’s airport connections! Eg: Jakarta-Indonesia, Bangkok-Thailand.


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Re: Airport transport

Postby krustyklo » Thu Jan 11, 2018 5:20 pm

It's worth mentioning that Perth airport is getting a rail line in a couple of years but nevertheless the existing Transperth bus service to the city (40 is even better from domestic than 380) is excellent.

Didn't see the 40 - only the 380 came up when I did a search. But yes, just proves the point!
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Re: Airport transport

Postby simonl » Thu Jan 11, 2018 5:23 pm

I agree that the service is excellent at Sydney but overpriced, enough that people resent paying the fare. If the fare was less, less people would drive and traffic congestion would reduce. It's a simple formula which politics is rather disgracefully (IMO) ignoring.
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Re: Airport transport

Postby Roderick Smith » Thu Jan 11, 2018 9:08 pm

I tried to use the bus-train trip coming home from Melbourne airport. The problem is the lack of frequency, and the poor connections, and the poor design of Broadmeadows 'interchange'. Doubling the frequency between Broadmeadows station and the airport would make it more viable. Enhancing the Craigieburn timetable to 10 min headways would do a lot, or at least 10 min to Broadmeadows and every second beyond. I'm a believer, but PTV isn't.
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Re: Airport transport

Postby Tonymercury » Fri Jan 12, 2018 5:35 am

simonl wrote: enough that people resent paying the fare.


'some people', but by no means all.
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Re: Airport transport

Postby tonyp » Fri Jan 12, 2018 6:16 am

I think there's a bit of an old hangover that they use to justify these premium fares - that is that air travel is something that only the rich do. This is simply not true in Australia where air is the only effective mode for our long distances and fares have come down to levels that large numbers can afford (at least for occasional trips, if not regularly). I agree with simonl that these premium fares simply push people into coming by car which leads to terrible congestion. Sydney airport domestic area has some shocking traffic nowadays. I have spoken to flight crew who have been late for work or even missed flights because they've been stuck in the airport gridlock in a bus. I've had a couple of nervous moments myself. I think those premium fares in Sydney have to end.
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Re: Airport transport

Postby Roderick Smith » Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:15 am

I'm fully with tonyp re airport fares. The world is divided into airports with ripoff fares, and airports which are just another traffic point, like a football ground.
London Heathrow has the ripoff express from Paddington and normal LT (although normal in London is expensive anyhow). London Gatwick has ripoff express and normal stopping trains.
Paris has ripoff express and normal RER.
Madrid is normal metro.
Frankfurt is normal suburban, as is Zurich. I can't recall the fare to Geneve.
Los Angeles and San Francisco and Seattle are on normal fares.
Vancouver charges a premium.
KL has normal and premium.
Singapore is normal.
Bangkok is premium, but that isn't ripoff.
IIRC Beijing is premium, but still isn't ripoff. It does a require a change from the airport express into the main metro system.
Mexico City is on normal.

Sydney and Brisbane failed by charging ripoff fares without premium service. Perth is boasting that it won't make that mistake.

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Re: Airport transport

Postby simonl » Sat Jan 13, 2018 8:28 am

^ I believe there's $5 premium at JFK too.

Brisbane's problems aren't limited to the fares. When the airport line opened there, it only ran until 8pm (now 10pm) and fed into a piss poor transit network. The transit service has come ahead in leaps and bounds since and it's a viable option to use the airport line now. However, a tonne has been invested on the roads to the airport too and it normally flows pretty freely. A major opportunity was missed to buy out the line for $117m IIRC a few years ago, but the liberals were in power and would never reverse a privatisation as an article of faith.

I can't see any political party besides The Greens instituting normal fares at the airport in Sydney either. When the upper house looked at it a few years ago, the forecast was reducing by 75% would result in a 17% increase in patronage. They lost interest at that point, I think. I think that forecast is likely to be more inaccurate than the one for 20% increase for abolishing the fare premium at Green Square and Mascot (was actually 70% increase in the first year).

I don't think it's as much of a political winner now either, with the M5 East duplication in full swing.
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Re: Airport transport

Postby tonyp » Sat Jan 13, 2018 9:02 am

There's a general bipartisan fear of patronage growth in NSW because they all know that the systems (except ferries so far) can't cope with it. Anything that keeps a lid on patronage growth they will do. It's not only to protect motorway companies, it's to avoid the need for investment in public transport.
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Re: Airport transport

Postby boronia » Sat Jan 13, 2018 9:08 am

Tokyo has two operators serving Narita (JR and Keisei) and both offer the choice of standard commuter or premium Express services. Haneda has the Keikyu commuter line and monorail. Osaka Kansai has a choice of 3 operators offering both standard and premium services to Osaka and beyond.
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Re: Airport transport

Postby simonl » Sat Jan 13, 2018 11:58 am

tonyp wrote:There's a general bipartisan fear of patronage growth in NSW because they all know that the systems (except ferries so far) can't cope with it. Anything that keeps a lid on patronage growth they will do. It's not only to protect motorway companies, it's to avoid the need for investment in public transport.

I only wish you were joking.

I think the fear is more that if more people use the services, they will lose votes at the ballot box for transit failures.
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Re: Airport transport

Postby Frosty » Sat Jan 13, 2018 1:48 pm

With London Airport transport
Heathrow: Heathrow Express to Paddington, Heathrow Connect soon to be merged with Crossrail (local stopping mainline service) & London Underground.
Gatwick: Gatwick Express (premium fare), Southern regular mainline & Thameslink also mainline operator (same group as Southern) but with different London terminus & different fares.

Sydney Airport train fares are ridiculous Uber is generally cheaper if its more than 1 person particularly going to the Airport from the City (not subject to tolls & airport service/rank fee).
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