One of the first initiatives I implemented as Mayor was to return the Mayoral car, meaning I would continue to utilise sustainable transport, such as buses, trains and walking when undertaking Council commitments.
The Maroondah Journal has reported on my usage of sustainable forms of transport within my Mayoral term:
Maroondah mayor Alex Makin has put his money where his mouth is, returning his mayoral vehicle to use public transport to get to council appointments. The long-time public transport advocate, gave up the car when he became mayor in December, putting the money back into the budget to benefit ratepayers.
Traditionally the Mayor of Maroondah has been provided with a car, which is traded in every two years. As Mayor I gave in the car providing a saving to Council and reinforcing the importance of sustainable transport within Maroondah.
Cr Makin said he had decided to give up the mayoral car because he wanted to lead by example.
“I live within the Ringwood central activities district, an area where the council is encouraging sustainable forms of transport, such as public transport and walking. It would be hypocritical for the mayor to use the car when living in an area where we are encouraging sustainable transport.”
Cr Makin said he planned his travel in advance to arrive at his appointments on time, but the lack of links between bus and train services could cause difficulties at times.
However, he said time spent travelling was sometimes a bonus.
“I tend to do a lot of council work on the move, whether it be phone calls or emails, while using public transport, so this time is quite efficiently used in terms of catching up with work.
“Certainly there is a benefit in terms of fitness and seeing Maroondah first-hand on a street-by-street basis.
“Public transport and walking also provides a great opportunity to speak to residents and community members and helps convey the role of being mayor and a councillor,” he said.
Cr Makin said he hoped future mayors of Maroondah would follow in his footsteps by using public transport where they could.
The mayoral car was traded in and replaced with a travel allowance, which Cr Makin said had provided a saving.
“It also demonstrates that councils should consider flexibility when providing travel, rather than following the standard formula of providing a car for the mayor.”
The transformation of Ringwood depends on public transport improvements to encourage sustainable forms of transport. As a Mayor that lives within the Ringwood Central Activities District I believe it is important to lead by example and demonstrate that public transport can be a viable form of transport.
While frequency and operating span improvements are required, particularly for bus services and off-peak rail travel, Maroondah does have the foundations of an integrated and functional public transport system. Complemented by Maroondah’s walking trails, sustainable forms of transport should be encouraged within the municipality.