Melburnians have been asking, “When will the Tullamarine airport rail link become a reality?” It’s been decades since its first proposal and many people are critical of its very little progress.
Last 2014, Premier Denis Napthine said he is pushing for the construction of the rail link. This gave the people a ray of hope that someday there will be a more convenient means to travel to and from the Melbourne airport.
So, what is the reason behind the eager expectation of this project’s completion? What effect will it have on everyday commuters, on businesses including the private airport parking melbourne facilities, on the environment and the economy?
If the city rail link indeed becomes operational, one effect is that it can help airport passengers and employees get a faster means of going to the airport. It is envisioned that the CBD to Tullmarine airport travel time via the city rail link is just 25 minutes. So, there’s no need to drive your car to the airport. More people can save not only on gas, but also on parking fees. Since there will be less motorists on the Tullamarine Freeway, which is currently the only route to the airport, the result is less traffic and parking congestion.
This is actually one of the reasons for the project – to decongest and cope with the increasing volume of travelers using the Melbourne airport. It’s currently estimated at 30 million every year and it will continue to rise to 40 million by the end of the decade. You can see ABS the population growth estimates fro Melbourne here.
There’s an environmental and economic advantage as well. Fewer vehicles on the road would mean less air pollution. And the easy access of transportation will draw in more passengers, thus increasing business opportunities for the airlines and other services. If facilities around the airport improve, the costs of parking should come down, but for now, the existing parking facilities at some car parks are excellent, and they are not overpriced.
However, this infrastructure has a drawback on some businesses. Everybody knows that the Melbourne airport car parking makes a lot of money. It was reported in 2014 that it made $120 million in revenue a year. If less people would be bringing their car to the airport and simply use the city rail link, then that would have an impact on the parking revenue of the airport.
We still don’t know how big the drop in income will be. Remember, there would still be people who prefer to drive their own car to the airport. They will be considering certain factors, such as the frequency of trips, travel time, the price of the fare, the easy handling and availability of baggage storage facilities. There’s also the question on how easy can the passenger get to the airport terminal itself.
So, for sure, some things will change when the city rail link is completed and becomes operational. We will just have to wait and see.