November 8th, 2008 AndrewD
Well, we survived the onslaught of 13 year old girls. All went reasonably well. In the end it was Lee-Ann that escaped while I watched a movie in the kitchen on the laptop. Later on I will get some images of Lynsey blowing the candles on her cake out.
Last nite it rained and it is approx 11 degrees here but the garden looks OK. So today I am ripping the weeds (patersons curse) out from around the water tanks. If I get time I will lay a quick garden bed, no edging and plany a few zucchini (yes a glutton for punishment) and the Minnesota Rockmelon. Hopefully they will supress the weeds that want to grow there.
The other piece of info is that I am back to Sydney tonite (via the XPT). The reason for it is that I am still President of BikeSydney the local bicycle user group in the City of Sydney. and every year we host the Sydney leg of the International Bike Film Festival (International site http://www.bicyclefilmfestival.com/ ; Sydney site http://bffsydney.org).
Bicycle Film Festival - Sydney 2008
So tomorrow I am helping with the Newtown Festival where we have a stall and next weekend is the actial festival.
September 1st, 2008 AndrewD
As some may know I still work in Sydney. They let me work remotely Monday and Friday, but I need to be there mid week. So rather than drive I catch the XPT. It takes approx 4 hours (3 hours driving), I can have a beer/wine read my book and relax. Anyway with summer approaching my ticket this week went to $50 (one way). Through autumn and winter it is $39. My yearly cost is at least $2500 (but more likely closer to $3500). But get this there is a international backpacker ticket that would only cost me $400/6 months, but you need to be an international visitor. So today I wrote to the Hon John Watkins as he is the Minister for Transport. My letter is below. Hopefully he will have something to say about the issue.
Hon John Watkins,
I am writing to you in what seems to be unfair practice by Country Rail NSW.
I live in the town of Yass, NSW and work in Sydney. My family and I moved from Sydney to Yass approx 1 year ago. Now I have been lucky and the business I work for has let me work remotely from home Monday and Friday, but I do need to be in Sydney mid week. I could drive but I do choose to catch the XPT from Yass to Sydney (and in reverse as well). In off peak season (autumn to spring) this costs $39.95 each way, in summer that jumps to almost $50 each way. Now if I was only catching the train occasionally that would be OK, but I use the train as a commute.
There should be a scheme for me to help reduce the cost (either six monthly ticket or frequent traveller plan). I am sure that over the past year I would have qualified for either. The big ‘rub’ comes when I see on the Country Link (http://www.countrylink.info) website a deal for international back packers (see below).
Why can there not be a similar deal for people who use the XPT on a regular basis? I choose not to drive to Sydney where I would be adding to the congested Sydney streets and air pollution so I see myself as
A/ contributing to the State of NSW
B/ being responsible in my transport options
Can you look into this and please rectify this unbalance.
From the website – http://www.countrylink.info/travel_passes/backtracker_pass
CountryLink’s train and coach network operates to over 360 destinations linking Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney and Brisbane with regional NSW. And the best way to see it all is with CountryLink’s Backtracker Pass, combining flexibility with great savings.
Backtracker pass fares *
14 days – $232.00
1 month – $275.00
3 months – $298.00
6 months – $420.00
* Conditions apply. Backtracker passes are available only to overseas visitors holding valid passports and a return airline ticket. The Backtracker pass must be within the valid dates printed on your pass for you to redeem the bonus CityRail tickets. All prices are for economy travel for one adult and are in Australian dollars, including Goods and Services Tax, and are valid from from 1 April 2006. Travel must commence and the pass validated within 6 months of the date of purchase.
I look forward to your prompt response – of course if you would like to discuss this please do not hesitate to give me a call