Statement from Michael Sewards, Director of Skybus
Skybus questions federal government’s ‘Gold Plated’ infrastructure pledge
SkyBus, operator of Melbourne’s award-winning airport bus service, has called on the Federal Government to explain the business case behind its $5 billion pledge for a Melbourne Airport rail link.
“The Federal Government is committing $5 billion of tax payers’ money for a gold-plated infrastructure without any business case,” said Michael Sewards, Co-CEO and Director, SkyBus.
“In comparison, SkyBus provides a world-class service for over four million customers annually at no cost to the taxpayer.”
“Reliable and affordable, SkyBus provides 24/7 Melbourne CBD trips, departing on average every 6 minutes, with free travel for kids, and an average fare of less than $19,” Mr Sewards commented.
SkyBus services now includes St Kilda, Frankston, Avalon, Geelong, and Southbank and Docklands, Auckland and the Gold Coast, all delivered via private investment and the hard work of its 450 staff.
“SkyBus welcomes any compelling mass transit rail option that can compete with our services, but surely there are important questions about at what cost the Victorian taxpayer will be asked to contribute both the build of this and the ongoing operations, let alone the fare price a $10-15 billion investment requires for a return to its investors,” added Mr Sewards.
“Surely Victorians cannot be expected to support a service that is not backed up by a solid business case and sound economics.”
“With the cost of the project topping at least $10 billion before a route has been finalised or what the customer offering actually is there is a very real question about what the total cost might be, and whether fares will have to be subsidised by the public purse on an ongoing basis.”
“Either way SkyBus will continue to grow and expand our services as we have done for 40 years and for the next 40 years – and we’ll continue to do that without seeking funding from the taxpayer,” Mr Sewards said