Half our MPs ‘get on board’ for Car-Free Challenge

Three of Geelong’s six MPs have accepted a challenge to go “car free” for some of their weekday journeys, the Public Transport Users Association announced today.

Geelong Branch Convener, Tim Petersen, congratulated MPs Ian Trezise, Lisa Neville and John Eren for taking up the challenge to rely on public transport for at least some of their trips.

The Public Transport Users Association originally challenged MPs to go completely car-free for any seven days over the next two months, but later suggested some relaxed conditions after receiving only a poor response.

Lisa Neville and John Eren have accepted the revised challenge and will attempt to use public transport between their homes and offices for six and five weekdays respectively. However Ian Trezise has agreed to follow the original challenge more closely, and will try to go without driving a car at all for five weekdays.

Mr Petersen said that while none of the parliamentarians would experience Geelong’s particularly poor weekend public transport, users will be pleased that MPs are at least going to get some experience at using Geelong’s transport system.

“MPs are fortunate that their offices are all served by some form of public transport. However, the poor frequency of services, and limited hours of operation, will still make it difficult to meet the challenge.”

“With rising petrol prices putting more pressure on household budgets, we hope participating MPs will realise the urgency of making our public transport a real alternative to driving.”

Participating MPs have been asked to return their travel log by the start of September. Mr Petersen said the other MPs, Michael Crutchfield, Elaine Carbines and Peter Loney, had declined to participate in the challenge.

The responses from each of the MPs are as follows:

Participating MPs

  • John Eren (MLC for Geelong Province) — Will use public transport between home and his office for 5 consecutive weekdays. Commits to completing the challenge in early August.
  • Lisa Neville (MLA for Bellarine) — Will rely on public transport to travel between her home and her office for 6 non-consecutive days, and will try to finish the challenge by early-mid September.
  • Ian Trezise (MLA for Geelong) — Will rely on public transport for five weekdays from the 31st July.

Non-Participating MPs

  • Elaine Carbines (MLC for Geelong Province) — Says that she won’t be able to participate due to the extent of her varied commitments.
  • Peter Loney (MLA for Lara) — Rejects the challenge on the basis that it was not well based, as taking public transport between his home and office is “relatively straightforward”. He also notes that his electorate is a large one, and that it would be inappropriate to leave a car in the Corio Village Shopping Centre car park overnight. However, acknowledges that “bus routes and timetables do not necessarily serve those who wish to travel within the electorate, and modal connections are difficult.”
  • Michael Crutchfield (MLA for South Barwon) — No response received since he described the original Car-Free Challenge as “absolutely ludicrous”

Contacts: PTUA Office (03) 9650 7898 / Geelong Branch: geelong at ptua.org.au