Peninsula Link entrenches car dependence

From PTUA’s December 2009 newsletter.

Despite having no Federal funds for its `Peninsula Link’, the State Government has announced its intention to proceed regardless, driving a motorway through precious native wildlife habitat and historic homesteads, in order to further entrench car dependence in south-east Melbourne and for visitors to the Peninsula.

With overall car traffic volumes static or falling in Melbourne since 2005, the road has little justification other than to fill the coffers of the EastLink consortium, who have been disappointed at traffic levels so far.

Meanwhile, virtually nothing is being done to remedy the hopeless situation for public transport in Frankston and on the Peninsula.

We might have hoped for some modest progress in the recent bus review of the region.

But despite acknowledging public demands both for increased service frequencies and for an east-west service between Mornington and Hastings, the review has recommended neither.

Instead, a couple more hourly bus services will be added, on the tacit assumption that public transport is a charity service for those who cannot drive cars, rather than an environmentally friendly alternative increasingly desired by those with cars.

For the over 50,000 residents of bayside towns from Safety Beach to Portsea—many on low to middle incomes—the backbone of the public transport system is the route 788 bus from Frankston to Portsea.

This runs at a hopeless 45 minute frequency on weekdays, and a scandalous 75 minute frequency on weekends, yet even so is regularly overcrowded.

If any of the thousands of regular visitors to the southern Peninsula were to attempt using public transport, this is the bus they would be dependent on.

Would any sane car owner choose public transport in this situation?

The push for the Peninsula Link together with the neglect of bus services is just one example of how the Victorian Transport Plan is working to increase the share of car travel at the expense of public transport.

We are keen to get in contact with PTUA members in this area to give this issue the prominence it requires.

Keen to help? Please contact the office.