While offering tokenistic gestures such as free public transport on Sundays for seniors, the State Government’s Transport and Liveability Statement ultimately fails to provide a frequent, reliable and readily available public transport system for the two-thirds of Melbourne that live beyond the rail network.
The Victorian Senior has reported on the failure of the State Government to provide a useable public transport system for Victoria’s senior citizens:
VICTORIAN seniors are being severely disadvantaged by poor transport systems. That’s according to the Public Transport Users’ Association which has condemned the State Government’s $10 billion Transport and Liveability Statement as failing to deliver for current and potential transport users.
The minimum bus service levels to be introduced by the government over the next four years will fail to provide a service level comparable to Melbourne’s train or tram network and hence will fail to provide a level of service that would encourage public transport usage.
Public Transport Users’ Association spokesman Alex Makin said two thirds of all Melburnians lived beyond the train and tram network, and only had the options of buses or taxis if they did not drive.
Mr Makin said older people relied on transport for essential services and shopping for everyday needs. “Elderly pensioners and self-funded retirees who do drive are faced with rising petrol prices, which cut into their available funds for basic living requirements,” he said.
An holistic and comprehensive reform of Melbourne’s bus routes are required to ensure that routes along main roads provide a frequent, direct and readily available service.
Mr Makin said major reform of public transport, in particular bus services, was needed. “We have buses travelling infrequently and along complicated routes,” he said.
“We need to move to a model where frequent bus services along main roads are provided, which link to smaller buses that travel along minor roads. “He accused Transport Minister Peter Batchelor of cherry picking a limited number of bus routes, mostly in marginal seats, for service upgrades.
It is irresponsible for Transport Minister Peter Batchelor to ignore the needs of the community and in particular the needs of Senior Victorians who are struggling under the burden petrol prices and social isolation.