Public transport carries Coalition to victory

Policies to set up an independent Public Transport Development Authority, new trains and rail lines to Rowville and East Doncaster appear to have delivered the Coalition victory in the Victorian state election, the Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) said today.

“Victorians clearly recognised that public transport had been turning into a shambles,” said PTUA President Daniel Bowen. “Three out of four voters wanted an authority to make public transport work [1], and the ALP’s refusal to listen on this issue helped feed the big swing away from them in the last week, just after the Coalition released its own better policy.”

Mr Bowen said the PTUA had received a great deal of support for its campaign to shake-up public transport governance [2]. “Voters recognise that public transport won’t work until it’s run by experts instead of politicians. The next government now has a popular mandate to set up a public transport authority in Melbourne based on successful examples in Vancouver, London and Zurich.

“Genuine public participation in planning is crucial to make public transport work,” said Mr Bowen, pointing to experience from around Australia and around the world [3]. “The authority’s board needs to meet in public and be guided by experienced multi-modal network planners who know how to make buses connect with trains and offer a seamless network that can compete with cars.”

While an important first task of the authority would be to investigate proposals to expand the rail network, Mr Bowen said other modes were equally deserving of attention. “Some suburbs will never have rail services – buses will still be needed for people to make cross- suburban trips or reach their nearest station,” he said. “The authority needs to be in a position to upgrade these bus services and to ensure they are coordinated with rail services.

“Melbourne is a growing city. To remain liveable and prosperous, it needs public transport services that are fast, frequent and connected. A properly resourced and skilled public transport authority will be crucial in meeting those challenges and should proceed without delay,” concluded Mr Bowen.

ENDS

1. The Age 27/11/2010. Nielsen poll reported that “74% support the introduction of a new co-ordinating body for Victoria’s public transport system. 16% are opposed.”
2. http://www.ptthatworks.org.au/

3. http://www.ptthatworks.org.au/pillars.html

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