Today I participated in a panel discussion for the Rail Infrastructure Australia conference in Sydney. The topic of discussion was passenger rail and included issues such as level of services, network integration and ticketing.
The session was moderated by Jim Wolfe from the Department of Transport and Regional Services (DOTARS) and panellists included Bill Watson from TransAdelaide, John Lee from the State Transit Authority of NSW and myself representing public transport users through the Public Transport Users Association (PTUA).
There is a growing need across Australia for improvements in public transport. Sydney, Brisbane and Perth are all providing a number of network extensions while Melbourne continues to lag behind. While there are common issues such as peak hour overcrowding, the approach of cities such as Sydney, Perth and Brisbane will result in a public transport network that has an increased reach and potential to serve new developments. Melbourne also lags behind other cities in providing frequent and direct bus routes and also fails to provide an integrated network through ensuring bus and train coordination.