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Good public transport would save households thousands

Multi-car families could save thousands of dollars a year if they had access to high quality public transport services, the Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) has said.

In promoting a call for public transport services “Every 10 Minutes to Everywhere“, PTUA president Daniel Bowen said that if fast frequent services were provided, more outer-suburban families could happily give up their second or third cars, resulting in huge savings.

“RACV figures indicate the typical light (small) car is costing at least $7111 per year to own and run[1] — and close to double that for large cars. And costs will increase as petrol prices keep rising in the long term. If good quality public transport is available, households can run fewer cars.”

Mr Bowen said that based on the RACV figures, using public transport instead of owning and driving a new car for a year would save between $4,000 and $10,000 depending on the type of car.[2]

“If a three-car family can cut their fleet down to one car, they could be saving $20,000 a year.”

Mr Bowen added that even used cars, already fully paid for and “running on the smell of an oily rag” can cost over a thousand dollars more in annual registration and fuel than the most expensive Yearly Metcard.[3]

“The challenge for government is to provide public transport that is good enough that people can and will give up their cars. If services don’t connect, or are too slow, or the waiting times are too long, then people will keep driving – no matter what the cost – and that’s how it is right now in most suburbs.

“It’s no co-incidence that the areas of Melbourne with the most households running three or more cars are the public transport-deprived outer suburbs, where the buses are infrequent, the trains are scarce and the trams even scarcer.”[4]

The PTUA is calling for all train, tram and main road bus services right across Melbourne and Victoria’s regional cities to be upgraded to run at least every ten minutes between 6am and midnight, 7-days-a-week. Routes would be extended, and connections improved to form a network competitive with car travel for most trips.

“Families can be unshackled from the rising costs of car ownership, but only if high quality, frequent public transport is provided in every suburb”, concluded Mr Bowen.

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More information on the PTUA’s Every 10 Minutes to Everywhere plan:


[1] Source: RACV, New car operating costs 2008. Light cars average $7111 per year. Small cars $8928. Medium cars $11197. Large cars $12216. Compact SUVs $11344.

[2] Source: Metlink yearly tickets are $1117 for zone 1, $748 for zone 2, or $1722 for zones 1+2. http://www.metlinkmelbourne.com.au/fares_tickets/metropolitan_fares_and_tickets/metcard_fares

[3] At an average of 15,000 kms per year (RACV figures), and average fuel consumption of 11.4 litres per 100 km (ABS figures 2006), and an average fuel price of $1.359 per litre (RACV figures), the annual fuel costs come to $2324. VicRoads registration of $178 (for Melbourne) and TAC premium and duty of $416. Total annual running costs $2918. The costs of comprehensive insurance, repairs and regular replacement parts such as tyres have not been included in this figure, and would be additional.

[4] Source: Department of Planning and Community Development, 2006 Census Paper: Household car ownership.
http://www.dpi.vic.gov.au/CA256F310024B628/0/2F7287EE81C81E92CA25742E001FF8A6/$File/Travel_to_work.pdf (page 8.)

(All amounts rounded to the nearest dollar)