The Maroondah Journal has reported on the local effects of the Bracks government’s recently released Transport and Liveability Statement:
While eastern suburbs’ Labor MPs, transport agencies and the Victorian Council of Social Services (VCOSS) applauded the strategy, Public Transport Users Association spokesman Alex Makin criticised it.
While initiatives such as minimum service standards for bus routes will potentially assist in reducing social isolation (a key concern of VCOSS), the minimum standards only require an hourly service until 9pm, meaning that the services are largely inadequate to shift people car drivers and onto public transport.
The need to provide minimum standards that offer a higher level of service frequency was identified by the Bus Association of Victoria (BAV) which called for a minimum of at least 30 minute intervals. The PTUA also called for a higher standard through requesting the introduction of 15 minute service frequencies for all main bus routes. Unfortunately the State Government ignored these requests, despite the fact that the government’s own research identified that a 15 minute service frequency was the minimum required before modal shift (ie shifting car drivers onto public transport) would occur.
“Unless you live next door to a train station or a [new] orbital bus route, you are likely to miss out on any tangible benefits,” he said.
Ultimately it was the failure to benchmark progress against the goal of realising 20% public transport modal share by the 2020 which resulted in the Statement’s inability to provide a fast, frequent and readily available bus network. It is due to this failure that the PTUA called for the resignation of Transport Minister Peter Batchelor.
Calling for Transport Minister Peter Batchelor’s resignation, Mr Makin said the Government had failed to provide the east with the 15 minute frequency bus services required to lure motorists onto public transport.
“This statement seems to be geared towards providing span above substance”
The Bracks Government has failed Melbourne both now and into the future, if the content of the Transport and Liveability Statement is not revised. The Statement as it currently stands fails to provide two thirds of Melbourne with a viable alternative to rising petrol prices, car dependence and worsening traffic congestion.
After six years of constant rhetoric this Transport and Liveability Statement must be condemned for being little more than media spin.