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Media Release


State Budget Slammed

The Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) has condemned the State Budget, which confirmed that residents of Geelong and outer Melbourne will continue to face an often unusable public transport system, and growing traffic congestion.

"Government rhetoric recently has been all about increasing public transport use", said PTUA president Daniel Bowen. "They have repeatedly stated they are aiming to for 20% of all trips to be taken by public transport by 2020. This is a laudable goal, with environmental, social and economic benefits for Melbourne. But it'll never happen without real investment in better public transport."

The PTUA supports the goal of 20%/2020, but believes substantial service upgrades are required to make this a reality. Public transport currently accounts for around 9% of all trips in Melbourne, with this figure falling to roughly 3% in the outer areas, where most public transport remains slow and infrequent.

"Public transport use will not increase while it remains unusable in many areas", said Mr Bowen. "The budget reveals what this government's real priorities are: around half a billion dollars in road expansion projects, which will only encourage more car usage, entrenching the most inefficient, polluting and expensive way of moving people around our cities, and ultimately bringing yet more traffic congestion. This is despite the Melbourne 2030 forums clearly showing people want better public transport, not more roads."

The State Government has claimed that low-income public transport users are among the big winners in the budget, yet it is often these low-income users that face the worst public transport services.

"Two thirds of Melbourne, including many less wealthy areas, lives beyond the rail and tram network. Yet these people face bus services that are infrequent, and that mostly do not run in the evenings or on Sundays - how can this be considered equitable?" Mr Bowen asked.

PTUA data indicated that only one quarter of Melbourne bus services operate on Sundays, with even fewer operating during evenings. The outer parts of Melbourne have some of the worst public transport services compared to other capital cities in Australia.

"People won't use inferior public transport. To keep Melbourne liveable, the government must commit to substantial improvements to services. Without them, any talk of increasing patronage is just a lot of hot air", concluded Mr Bowen.

PTUA Office 9650 7898

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Last Modified: 6 May 2004