Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Toll Roads, Airports, IPPs - All Need Proper Cost-Benefit Analysis


Certain services should never be privatised. The Sydney airport is a prime example of when you should not sell. Of course now, we are still complaining over toll roads privatisation - toll roads are basically OK to be privatised, our Malaysian gripe is that the terms of the contract were so favourable to the operator that in the end its the public that get whacked every year, and the contract is so bloody long.

If we stopped issuing such favourable terms in the first place (e.g. IPPs as well) then we wouldn't need to put out so many fires year after year. Thankfully MAHB is a "decent operator" and not a vampire like Macquarie - can you imagine paying AUD4 (RM10) for the use of a trolley???... how about AUD14 (RM35) for parking an hour. Always do a proper and transparent Cost_benefit Analysis and make known the permissible rate of return and burdens on the public when deliberating major privatisation of public services.

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Sydney Morning Herald: Sydney Airport is the country's worst and most expensive, the consumer regulator reported yesterday, confirming what many travellers already believe.

The airport, majority-owned by various Macquarie Bank funds, has continued to chalk up record profitability in the past five years but has not raised its spending on services at the same rate.

As a result, it is delivering lucrative returns to its owners but providing the worst service in the country to passengers and its airline tenants.

For the third year running, passengers rated Sydney at the bottom of a list of the country's five major airports in terms of overall quality, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission report.

The report, which also examined parking at airports, suggested that high charges showed evidence of "monopoly rents".

The Assistant Treasurer, Chris Bowen, said the Government was considering further action on car parking. But the chairman of the ACCC, Graeme Samuel, said he was not sure that any government would want to start regulating parking costs, short of publicly exposing how expensive they were.

At A$14 an hour, Sydney's parking is the most expensive in the country. At Adelaide, an hour's parking costs A$4.

The airport also drags in the highest rate of revenue from airlines per passenger. The airport bills airlines about A$13 for every passenger, almost double the rate Melbourne Airport charges.

The release of the report coincided with a strike by more than 450 Qantas baggage handlers, catering and ramp staff, protesting over outsourcing of jobs and claims of falling safety standards.

By the time staff went back to work at 1pm, 67 flights had been delayed, including 32 that were delayed for longer than an hour. Airport staff reacted by piling baggage that could not be processed in the middle of the departure lounge, while passengers lined up for more than an hour to reach a counter.

Tore Milsen and his wife, Patricia, from Seattle, had visited Australia over the past month, passing through airports at Adelaide, Gold Coast and Sydney, among others.

They were due to fly back to the US on Qantas. Mr Milsen said the couple had been given no information on when their plane would be departing. They were waiting in a queue behind 50 people to get his baggage checked out.

Mr Milsen said he had travelled around the world and Sydney Airport was one of the worst he has visited. "The only thing I've come close to this is one [airport] we went through in Mexico," he said.

Two travellers from Mexico, Juan Alvero and Jose Torre, agreed that standards at Sydney were poor. They had to wait four hours because their flight to Los Angeles was delayed.

"It was disappointing no one told us anything. It all seems a bit chaotic here," Mr Alvero said.

The ACCC report found that check-in times had continued to grow in the past five years. Airlines complaining about a shortage of counters and queuing space.

Sydney Airport said yesterday it would spend A$500 million to upgrade and expand its international terminal.

Its chief executive, Russell Balding, said the period covered by the ACCC report had coincided with extensive construction work at the airport.

p/s photos: Shu Qi


3 comments:

see said...

A$2 to use trolley? I remember paying A$4 LOL! On another note, I am strongly against privatisation of toll roads & its about time more people voice this out. Most of the tolled roads are in the Klang Valley & expect the whole country including poorer states to subsidize these roads? Comeonlah, the toll rates and terms of privatisation is separate issue from whether there should be toll on roads. Fair is fair, if you use you pay.

Datuk said...

The privatisation of public infra stucture and services without proper cost analysis is tantamount to "piratisation".

Thank you for bring out this obselete issue again although i personally think that the masses deserved for it as they were collectively in responsible for putting up the current policy makers in power.

Take for instance,the spirit and approach demonstrated by the federal govt. on the privatisation of water services in Selangor is a classic behaviour of "dead wood". Zero chance for changes!

Hoped the grienvence voters know what to do in the upcoming by elections.

Rakyat, you need to do your part to help yourself, to jelp our beloved homeland.

Good Day.

solomon said...

I don't mind paying for the toll, but I am mad that the rate keeps going up every few years and the queue is longer then ever.

Actually, we don't need this toll if we have proper city planning.

A cost analysis like any other doc is only pleasing the selected eyes. This can be crafted. At the end, are someone trying to tell us that "you don't like paying then use the federal roads"??

Zebra cannot take away their stripes. Difficult to see changes.... but maybe they can dye their skin like the hairs. But how long would this last, for you ponder.