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What a mess – a hundred different organisations running public transport in Victoria

Diagram of organisations running public transport in VictoriaThe Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) has highlighted the fragmented nature of public transport management in Victoria, issuing a flowchart illustrating how difficult it is for the average person to work out who to contact with questions and problems. The flowchart will be sent to PTUA members, and available on the PTUA web site.

“We were staggered to find over a hundred different organisations involved”, said PTUA President Daniel Bowen. “We considered putting the diagram on a postcard to hand out to people to help them navigate the bureaucracy, but it wouldn’t all fit.

“Even without counting the 77 different bus companies around Victoria, there are some twenty-four different companies, government bodies and other organisations involved in running, planning and managing public transport. And we don’t think we’ve included every single body on the chart.[1]

Diagram of organisations running public transport in Victoria
(Click to view bigger)

“No wonder public transport’s a mess – it’s a recipe for buck-passing.

“We’ve seen recently how various bodies believe someone else is responsible for such essential things as bus/train co-ordination[2]. It turns out none of them are, so it’s no surprise it doesn’t happen.[3]

“In other cases, local residents wanting railway lines cleaned of litter have been sent around in circles, from the local council to the train operator to private contractors, to VicTrack, with nobody taking responsibility.”

The PTUA believes that Melbourne would benefit markedly from a central Public Transport Authority (PTA) to take responsibility for:

  • planning for the future with genuine public participation;
  • integrating services – trains, trams & buses – into a seamless network for “go-anywhere” convenience, not just services to and from the CBD;
  • proactively fixing the root causes of delays, cancellations and over-crowding; and
  • providing a “one-stop-shop” for the public and other agencies.

“Many of the world’s biggest cities have found that effective public transport needs a co-ordinated network, providing seamless travel from anywhere to anywhere in the metropolitan area. And the best way to achieve that is through a single, central authority to plan and manage services”, said Mr Bowen.

“It’s time Melbourne untangled the incomprehensible mess that is our public transport management.”

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[1] We have not counted Victoria’s 79 local councils in the total. They are responsible for maintenance of some bus shelters, and in some cases have some control over stop locations.

[2] Age 29/9/2010: No one running public transport co-ordination

[3] PTUA: Poor connections leave passengers waiting

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