PT Problem of the Day: Hopelessly infrequent buses, or ever-growing traffic jams – your choice

POTD: Mornington Peninsula: hopelessly infrequent buses, or ever-growing traffic congestion - your choice

In a letter in today’s Age, PTUA Secretary Tony Morton responds to the Auditor-General’s criticism of the Peninsula Link motorway, and the recognition of induced traffic — and asks why the road is being built when public transport is so hopeless.

THE Auditor-General has officially confirmed what sustainable-transport advocates have long known: Victoria lags decades behind the rest of the world when assessing transport projects (“Auditor hits $2b road project”, The Age, 2/6).

In the UK, the “induced demand” from new roads was officially recognised in 1994. Since then, all motorway proposals have had to take into account the new traffic they create.

Yet in Victoria, planners still promote the benefits of new roads by reference to travel-time savings that only come about if no one takes advantage of the road to drive more often, or to drive further. Most transport economists and planners outside Australia recognise that the only effective measure to cut congestion is to improve alternatives to car travel, including first-rate public transport.

But in the parallel universe inhabited by our transport planners, it’s better to destroy irreplaceable heritage bushland for a road and flood the southern peninsula with cars than do anything about the woeful 75-minute weekend frequency on the only bus service to the region.

Tony Morton, Public Transport Users Association, Melbourne

Route 788 to Melbourne’s playground runs only every 75 minutes on weekends, and every 45 minutes on weekdays — even in peak hour — meaning not only long waits between buses, but no reliable connection to trains at Frankston station.

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