No additional trains for Soundwave concert - Public Transport Authority of Western Australia
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/ Categories: PTA News, Transperth

No additional trains for Soundwave concert

Negotiations have broken down between the Public Transport Authority and the promoters of the Soundwave music festival over the provision of extra public transport for the event, which is being held at Bassendean Oval on Monday.

Negotiations have broken down between the Public Transport Authority and the promoters of the Soundwave music festival over the provision of extra public transport for the event, which is being held at Bassendean Oval on Monday.

The situation is consistent with a PTA/Transperth position, supported by Government and widely publicised last year, that commercial event promoters should contribute to the cost of any extra public transport, on top of normal scheduled services, required because of their event.

This reflects the fact that public transport is 70-75 per cent funded by the taxpayer – fares contribute less than a quarter of the cost of running the system.

The PTA’s funding allocation is calculated solely on the cost of providing scheduled timetabled services, plus some additional services to large-scale, broad-spectrum community-based events, such as Skyshow, the Christmas Pageant, ANZAC Day at Kings Park and the Royal Show.

The PTA’s budget does not allow for (and never has) the provision of extra public transport to support niche-market commercial events.

As a result, only standard train services will be operating on Monday.  Being a public holiday, this means one train, with a capacity of 375 people, will run in each direction every 15 minutes and, after 7pm, every 30 minutes until the last trains at midnight.

With the all-day (11am-11pm) event expected to attract 18,000 people – about half of whom could be expected to be public transport users – scheduled services will be unable to cope, especially at the conclusion of the event.

“We are very concerned that the concert promoters seem to be ignoring the implications for the safety of passengers – their own patrons – as well as other people who might need to use the train system on Monday,” said PTA CEO Reece Waldock.

“It leaves us no choice but to take action to manage the considerable risks involved in having our trains and platform massively overcrowded – which may also impact on people who are not concert patrons but who want to use the train or station.”

The situation was foreshadowed by the PTA in November last year when it sent out Memoranda of Understanding to 24 local government councils, seeking their support in requiring promoters to have agreed transport plans as a condition of being allowed to stage an event.

“Most promoters and venues – including the AFL, soccer, rugby, Burswood and Members Equity, and many concert promoters – already have suitable contributory arrangements,” Mr Waldock said.

“It need not even alter the price of a ticket and when it does, it’s negligible … we’re talking about approximately $1.50 a head for public transport on Soundwave tickets which cost up to $151 each.

“If the number of people going to and from an event on public transport is reasonably modest, our normal services are sufficient – depending on the day and time – but in recent years, events coming to Perth have increased in size (as well as number), requiring extra, event-specific services, for which we are not funded.”

In sending the MOU letters to councils last year, Mr Waldock said the PTA was simply trying to make it fair – “fair for the concert-goers, some of whom pay their train fares while others don’t; fair for the venues and promoters, most of whom already contribute to the cost of public transport while a few refuse to make it a level playing field; and fair for WA taxpayers, whose money is better spent on more and better timetabled services.

“Responsible event organisers and venues recognise the value of public transport and treat is as a standard running cost along with electricity, security services, booking services, toilets etc,” he said.

“Responsible event organisers enter into service-provision agreements with us to make it easier – and safer – for their patrons, many of whom may be under driving age, to get to and from the event.

“Unfortunately, a few entrepreneurs seem determined to maximise their returns at the expense of passenger safety and still refuse to enter into any agreement with us – they believe it is the responsibility of the State’s taxpayers to support their commercial event.

“We have an obligation to ensure that the taxpayers of WA get reasonable value for their substantial investment in public transport, so we are getting tougher.

“No longer will we be held to ransom by event organisers who put profit before passenger safety – and we are looking for the support of local government.”

The Town of Bassendean received a copy of the letter and MOU.  They chose not to sign.

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