Who we are: Founded in 1976, the Public Transport Users Association is the recognised consumer organisation representing passengers of all forms of public transport. We are a non-profit, voluntary organisation, with no political affiliations. More information »
It may have escaped our road-obsessed Premier’s attention but Friday’s horrific B-double crash occurred on exactly that part of CityLink that his east-west link road would connect to. With the link in place, that incident would have jammed east-west link traffic as well, just as Monash Freeway troubles jam up CityLink traffic today. The idea of roads “backing up” other roads is fantasy. With politicians and bureaucrats alike ganging up to boost roads and shut down talk of rail extensions, another half-century of gridlock is our lot unless something changes.
Uncertainty still shrouds Melbourne’s transport future, says user group
The Public Transport User Association has backed a $3 billion commitment in the Federal budget to the Melbourne Metro rail project. But with another $6 billion needed from the State Government and the private sector, concerns abound still about the likelihood of the project proceeding, including among public transport advocates.
“The Victorian Coalition Government, defying everything it said before the 2010 election, is intent on putting roads ahead of rail,” said PTUA President Tony Morton. “It wants to spend $6 to $8 billion rearranging deckchairs on the Titanic, shifting traffic bottlenecks from one place to another in Melbourne’s inner north and throwing public money at yet another non-solution. The Gillard Government is to be commended for basing transport funding decisions on merit, and some semblance of independent assessment via Infrastructure Australia.”
“We can see this as Canberra urging the State Government to keep its promise to the Victorian people at the last election, to fix the problems with public transport,” Dr Morton said. Read the rest of this article »
Government has one chance to redeem itself on public transport, says PTUA
The state government has “abandoned reason for madness” in committing to a $15 billion road project in the face of falling GST revenue, declining car use per capita and mounting private sector toll-road failures, the Public Transport Users Association said today. Meanwhile there is no commitment to any major city-shaping public transport initiative in suburban Melbourne, including those put forward in the lead-up to the 2010 election.
“When Sir Rod Eddington looked at the East West road he could only find benefits worth 45 to 73 cents for every dollar spent,” said PTUA President Tony Morton. “Sir Rod is a self-declared fan of the road, but even he couldn’t get the numbers to stack up for it. That’s because this project is a big fat dud and an appalling waste of public money.” Read the rest of this article »
It almost defies reason that, with our train system virtually falling apart and car use per capita in decline, this government is hell-bent on committing public money to a road project with 50¢ of benefit for every $1 of costs (The Age: “Western end of project could win priority“, 3/5)
When the Bolte Bridge was built just over a decade ago it too was supposed to be an ”alternative” to the West Gate Bridge. It hasn’t worked, because as every transport planner knows, every new road attracts its own traffic that cancels out any benefit in easing traffic flow. Why should we expect another new road to work any differently?
Prioritising the western end is just what Yes Minister called ”salami tactics” – do the least contentious bit first, then let pressure build up to ram through the rest. Nothing will help tackle traffic congestion and freight movement until we get serious about boosting public transport in our suburbs.
Tony Morton, president, Public Transport Users Association, Melbourne
The Public Transport Users Association today released a list of urgently needed Victorian rail projects they say should take priority over the Melbourne Metro rail tunnel and East West tollroad for Federal funding.
“We are encouraged by the Gillard Government’s strong stand in favour of Federal funding for urban rail in Australia,” said PTUA President Tony Morton. “It shows they are clearly rooted in this century, rather than the last one, and are serious about taking advice from independent umpires on merit.”
“All the same, Canberra should not be gulled into thinking one $9 billion tunnel is a panacea for everything that ails the Melbourne public transport network,” Dr Morton added. “We have to resist the idea that the way to plan transport is to throw money at a succession of mega-projects. If the only choice is between an inner-city road tunnel and an inner-city rail tunnel, then clearly the rail tunnel is preferable as the road will still leave the city choked up with traffic. But really the framing is all wrong: this shouldn’t be a debate about how big a hole we can dig but about how we can use Federal funds wisely to help people move around our cities.” Read the rest of this article »
Following the Napthine government’s announcement that single-use public transport tickets will no longer be available from this month, the Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) has urged the government to abandon the trouble-plagued Myki card and instead rollout e-Tag on the public transport network.
Most regular users of CityLink and EastLink have an e-Tag, while many less frequent users opt to set up an access account or buy short-term day or weekend passes for travel. Expanding these to public transport would offer public transport users both regular and single-use ticket options.
The Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) revealed today the Victorian Government will scrap the use of short-term tickets on Geelong buses in the middle of next month.
PTUA Geelong Branch Convenor Paul Westcott said that move was the worst decision since the introduction of Myki itself, and would cause huge problems for bus users in Geelong. It also makes the Myki system almost unique in the world in not having a short-term ticket option. Read the rest of this article »
Welcome news on high capacity signalling, but must be fast-tracked
Public Transport Victoria’s new Rail Network Development Plan risks joining previous attempts and gathering dust on a shelf, due to its reliance on expensive, unfunded and premature tunnels, the Public Transport Users Association said today.
“This plan has all the right individual elements in it,” said PTUA President Tony Morton. “The fatal flaw is that they’re all out of sequence. It takes the element with the highest cost and the least benefit – the Melbourne Metro tunnel – and puts it at the top of the list before virtually anything else is allowed to be done. With this one gesture, PTV and the government have doomed this plan to failure before it even gets off the ground.”
The plan divides its proposed initiatives into four sequential stages. Many Stage 1 initiatives are existing commitments. The Metro tunnel heads up Stage 2. Long-awaited rail extensions to Rowville, Doncaster, Melbourne Airport and Mernda are postponed to Stages 3 and 4, with a 15 to 20 year timeline.
“The people of the suburbs aren’t interested in a 20 year wish list,” Dr Morton said. “What they want and need is an achievable plan that allows network extensions to proceed as quickly and as cost-effectively as possible.” Read the rest of this article »
The West Gate bridge carries 160,000 vehicles a day (”Trucks test structure of West Gate”, 18/3), but that is only a modest 15 per cent increase on 10 years ago, when it carried 140,000. Then, as now, traffic was forecast to increase by some staggering amount over the next decade.
In fact, traffic finds its own level depending on available road space. In 2003 the ”second Yarra crossing” had just opened in the form of the Bolte Bridge. Traffic has simply increased through the West Gate-Monash corridor to match the additional road space. The bridge did not ease congestion at all. Read the rest of this article »
Making the Doncaster rail extension conditional on undergrounding the South Morang line is unnecessary and an excuse to kill the project, the Public Transport Users Association said today.
“The government all but promised to build the Doncaster extension in 2010, but they failed to confront a bureaucracy that’s too fond of making excuses to do nothing,” said PTUA President Tony Morton.
The study report released today recommends a route following the Eastern Freeway median, in accordance with the ‘Option 1′ route identified in 2012. However, it suggests terminating the line at the Doncaster Park and Ride car park, short of the major and growing activity centre at Doncaster Hill.
“They are actually proposing running a train line to a car park,” Dr Morton said. “This is not how you plan a major public transport corridor. It was always intended the line would serve the major activity centre at Doncaster Hill, and not just be a single-purpose commuter service for CBD office workers.” Read the rest of this article »