Unfortunately the recent State Budget like the Transport and Liveability Statement released before it completely failed to provide Melbourne’s outer suburbs with a reliable and readily available public transport system.

In response, the following was issued by the Public Transport Users Association (PTUA):

Media release – Wednesday, 31 May 2006
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

State Budget Burdening Suburbs

Transport Minister not supporting key ‘20% by 2020’ public transport policy

The Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) has reignited calls for the resignation of the current Transport Minister, Peter Batchelor, amid a Budget that has failed to prevent excessive car dependence, with the goal of increasing public transport modal share sliding backwards.

“After all the fanfare, the government’s transport statement and budget have failed to deliver for current and potential transport users,” said PTUA spokesman Alex Makin. “Commuters will have to wait several years before most of the upgrades are implemented, and meanwhile must endure ongoing delays, cancellations and crowding.”

“The current arrangements are clearly dysfunctional since despite continued poor performance on Melbourne’s rail network the subsidy to Connex will be increased by 10%,” said Mr Makin. “It is time the system was put under the control of an efficient public agency like in Zurich or Vancouver where service levels and patronage are improving.”

“Despite major social, economic and environmental benefits from encouraging greater use of public transport, the government is not even trying to reach its target of 20% of trips on public transport by 2020,” said Mr Makin. “The budget has provided about a billion dollars upfront to encourage more car traffic on the Monash Freeway and other arterial roads across the city, while much of the extra money for public transport will only be drip-fed after the next state election. It’s no wonder Melbourne is starting to grind to a halt.”

“Last year a Griffith University study found that a larger proportion of households in Melbourne are vulnerable to rising petrol prices than in either Sydney or Brisbane due to inadequate public transport”, warned Mr Makin. “Despite the welcomed funding for further studies of Ringwood Station, comprehensive bus improvements appear to be on the never-never list while the Minister has literally cherry picked a very limited number of bus routes mostly in marginal seats for service upgrades while neglecting most of Melbourne. If Peter Batchelor thinks that an hourly bus service will get anyone out of their car he needs to have his head examined”.

“Peter Batchelor must go – the failure to take public transport seriously is leaving families at the mercy of rising petrol prices and congestion. The government’s own figures show public transport is losing its share of the travel market, despite record petrol prices, because most people have no choice but to drive their cars. The government has failed to make progress towards the key policy goal of increasing public transport modal share to 20% by the year 2020 and after six years, the public deserve better and a new Minister for Transport”, concluded Mr. Makin.

About the Public Transport Users Association (PTUA):
Founded in 1976, the Public Transport Users Association is the recognised consumer organization representing passengers of public transport. The PTUA is a non-profit, voluntary organisation with no political affiliation, which lobbies governments and public transport authorities in the interest of all users of public transport.

ALL MEDIA ENQUIRIES: ALEX MAKIN ON 0409 136 213

– ENDS –

Alex Makin

Alex Makin

Alex Makin is a councillor for the Mullum Ward in the City of Maroondah. Alex has been a councillor since 2005, representing ratepayers, businesses, community groups and residents. I aim to continue making a difference and welcome any thoughts you may have in regard to life, community and business in Maroondah. Phone: (03) 9870 8202 or 0408 311 645 Email: alex@alexmakin.com.au

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