Successful Games public transport demonstrates it can be done

The Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) has given a thumbs-up to public transport throughout the Commonwealth Games period, saying it showed the way forward for boosting patronage all year round.

PTUA president Daniel Bowen said that the public had flocked to Games train, tram and bus services, proving that even in a car dominated city like Melbourne, people will use high quality frequent public transport if it is provided.

“While there were some minor delays, such as after the opening ceremony, overall public transport has been excellent, and showed that the government can get its act together to deliver a high standard of services across Melbourne”, Mr Bowen said. “Now we need to learn from the Games: the State Government should maintain funding to ensure that the boosted level of service remains.”

The Commonwealth Games showcased the role that public transport can play in moving thousands of people around the city in an efficient and fast manner. The success has renewed faith in the goal of increasing public transport modal share to 20% by 2020.

“With frequency improvements during off-peak times, particularly evenings, the government has shown it has both the capacity and the budget to provide better public transport,” Mr Bowen said. “For the sake of a few dozen extra drivers on each of the train, tram and bus networks, it could be like this all the time, and provide the way forward for further upgrades.”

Melbourne’s train, tram and bus received significant service upgrades as part of the Commonwealth Games, including the introduction of evening services for the first time on many of Melbourne’s bus routes. Trains ran every 20 minutes after 7pm for the first time since the 1970s, encouraging people to travel later, avoiding crowds and relieving pressure on evening peak services.

Mr Bowen said that most passengers during the Games period were not Games ticketholders getting free transport. “During the Games you were able to catch a train after 7pm without having to wait half an hour or longer. In many suburbs you were able to catch a bus home from the station, as late as 1am, a vast improvement over the typical bus finishing times of around 7pm. It’s initiatives like this that makes public transport usable for more trips, and is what all of Melbourne needs all the time.”

“The Commonwealth Games demonstrated that the Government can provide better public transport and it can work. There should be no more excuses — immediate funding should be provided to retain many of these services, to get more people out of their cars, and give Melbourne the standard of services a world-class city truly deserves”, Mr Bowen concluded.

PTUA Office (03) 9650 7898