‘Hand over your car keys’ — Geelong MPs challenged to a car-free week

The Public Transport Users Association has challenged Geelong’s State MPs to survive one week without driving a car.Geelong Branch convener Tim Petersen said the invitation had been extended to MPs so they could experience Geelong’s poor public transport service levels first-hand.

Mr Petersen said the 7-day Car-Free Challenge was inspired by frustration at the token improvements announced in the State Government’s Transport and Liveability Statement, entitled Meeting our Transport Challenges. “The Bracks Government clearly misunderstands the scale of the upgrades required to make public transport a real alternative to driving.”

“With petrol prices climbing, public transport is increasingly the only affordable transport option for many people. But service levels are so poor, people just about have to resign from society to start relying on them.”

Mr Petersen said that the 2001 Census also showed that about one in ten Geelong households did not even have a car.

Challenge guidelines ask MPs to go about their daily business for seven days without driving a car. They will be encouraged to use public transport, walk or cycle where it is reasonably practical and log the details of each trip.

MPs can drive if they are going to a rural area where there is no public transport. Otherwise, they may only use cars if somebody else drives them. “People without cars have to rely on a mix of public transport, lifts from friends or family or expensive taxi rides.”

“Politicians are busy people and we expect them to perform significant public duties- so we’ve only suggested that they do one week over the next two months (until Friday 24 August). That way our MPs can choose quieter times, and they don’t even have to choose consecutive days. It’s a choice that other busy people don’t have.”

Mr Petersen said MPs could omit details of private trips to protect their privacy, but he said were encouraged to log enough information to show that they have tried a range of trips throughout the week.

Mr Petersen said that car-free politicians would also be doing their bit to reduce air pollution, road traffic and greenhouse gas emissions.

Mr Petersen said that MPs have been asked to nominate the days on which they will be going car-free by tomorrow (Friday 23 June).

Contacts: PTUA Office (03) 9650 7898