I’ll be writing more in the Crikey email tomorrow about imminent further cost cutting at our major newspaper titles (tips to [email protected]).

But in the meantime, the email below has gone out to staff at The Age. Sad stuff. I remember when I was a junior reporter at The Age missives like this went out now and then. After a few weeks of “efficiency” and tram-enabled reporting, everything went back to normal. And there was wastage. Some people treated taxi vouchers as a form of personal transport, particularly when they were too drunk to drive.

But now I think this IS the new normal. Or at least a stepping stone on the way to the new normal.

“As a result of the recent 6% increase in taxi fares and a significant increase in taxi costs over the past 6 months we would like to explore other options in transportation.

Whenever possible we encourage all journalists to use public transport for work related purposes to assist us during a difficult period.

The following initiative will be implemented from Monday 23rd February.

– staff travelling within a 5km radius of The Age offices (ie: short trips into the CBD or Southbank) will be encouraged to use Metcards for use on public transport.

– staff travelling further than 5kms will still be encouraged to use a pool car when available or travel with the photographer.

– as has been the case for some time, transport home will not be supplied before 9pm and all staff will be expected to pool with others

– as always, all transport will only be provided for work related purposes, not personal use.

The Newsdesk will have a supply of Metcards for staff travelling short distances (only) on assignment.

Please assist the newsdesk staff with this new procedure and thank you for your co-operation.

Rod Wiedermann

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