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Reaction To Deputy PM's Comments On The Southener

"Southerner" Related. Reaction To Deputy PM's Comments....

Stephen H. Rice
Christchurch 8002
Phone: 3772379 Mobile: 025-229-8227

I am past-founder and Tour Leader of an independent long-distance rail tour operation which ran from Christchurch very successfully for 6 years between 1981 & 1987. We were callled "RAIL TOURS".

I wish to seriously challenge the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economic Minister Mr Jim Anderton on assertions he made associated with and made on the day that the "Southerner" rail service finished. (I am quoting Mr Anderton from TVNZ Teletext News of Sunday 10/0202)

I have publically accessed information from industry operators concerned which I assert shows Mr. Anderton is factually wrong on at least 2 counts out of 3. I believe we should expect and get better public information & comment from the deputy prime-minister.

In the Teletext media release Mr Anderton says in respect to the "Southerner"...... "it's hard to justify subsidizing a service that competes with buses which he(Mr Anderton) says are faster, cheaper and more comfortable."

I wish to challenge Mr Anderton on his first and last assertions concerning "speed" and "comfort". Firstly, today I rang Intercity Coachlines for their bus timetable between Christchurch & Invercargill. I was told Depart Christchurch 8:00am & Arrive Invercargill 5:40pm. That is a total travelling time of 9-hours 40-minutes. I also similarly rang TranzScenic Rail today, to inquire of the Southerner's normal timetable and was astonished to find the following ....... Depart Christchurch 8:15am & Arrive Invercargill 5:20pm. That is a total LESSER travelling time of 9-hours 05-minutes ......................... but Mr Anderton said buses were faster ? .............. in fact they are slightly slower ........... by 35 minutes !! (I did not make comparisons with fares)

On Mr Andertons comment about "comfort" ........... has he forgotten about what about the greater ability on long-distance passenger trains to move around the train without it stopping - so as to take physical exercise to minimise the risk of DEEP VEIN THROMBOSIS associated with lack of movement on extended(time) journeys ........... such journeys on buses can hardly be described as either necessarily "COMFORTABLE" or "SAFE" ? Mr Anderton's remarks today unfortunately may be perceived as anti-rail !!



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