Who are we?
Founded in 1976 as the Train Travellers Association, the Public Transport Users Association represents passengers on public transport throughout Victoria. The PTUA is a non-profit, voluntary organisation, with no political affiliations. As the recognised consumer and advocacy organisation for public transport, the PTUA is affiliated to the national and international consumer and environment movements.
What do we do?
We lobby governments, public transport authorities and operators in the interests of all users of public transport and for a change to a sustainable transport policy.
We campaign with other bodies at community level and through the media to achieve the improvements necessary to achieve a high quality public transport system.
We undertake research into transport policies which will improve services and make Victoria a better place in which to live.
The importance of public transport
Public transport is part of the fabric of a community, a transport “mode of choice” that has a central role in maintaining our way of life sustainably.
It is assuming increasing importance, as understanding matures that that car use as the dominant mode of transport has precipitated deep environmental, social and public health problems including a worsened greenhouse effect, pollution, noise and community severance.
Car use has also contributed significantly to inefficient use of urban space and increasing cost imposts on households, businesses and government.
This means that from now on public transport has to assume a much greater role relative to other transport modes, and especially the private passenger motor car.
Our transport problem
It has been demonstrated globally that people are attracted in large numbers to higher quality public transport. They shun poor quality public transport. The introduction of 10 minute services on the Ringwood, Dandenong and Frankston lines has boosted patronage, as did the introduction of the Doncaster Rapid Transit bus services in 2009.
Today, peak hour train, tram and route bus services are very well patronised, but patronage on routes with infrequent services drops severely outside peak hour, and in the suburbs where many bus services still run once or twice an hour throughout the whole day.
Until now too many parliamentarians and public officials have not recognised that public transport is easily capable of providing a standard of service that matches or exceeds the private passenger car. Instead of pursuing necessary public transport improvements, many have been stuck with the outdated idea that the car is the way of the future, rather than, in many respects, the passenger transport mode of the past. As a consequence they have too often continued to approve motorways which compound road traffic congestion, while neglecting the public transport alternative.
The future of public transport
For public transport to become a “mode of choice”, it needs to offer first-class service. Every aspect of the public transport journey must be upgraded to provide conditions comparable to, or better than, those provided by cars.
Experience in cities similar in size and shape to Melbourne (though lacking a rail and tram network as extensive as ours) demonstrates that this is possible. These cities not only run a superior service, but also recover a higher proportion of their costs in doing so. The measures called for are chiefly operational: better service frequencies, better integration of existing services, greater priority for on-road public transport, and so on.
A reliable, safe, frequent network of services every 10 minutes right across Melbourne would mean a vastly more useable public transport system – which would attract more passengers out of their cars.
How you can help
By becoming an active PTUA member, and using your voice, skills and knowledge in the on-going campaign for better public transport, you can be involved in achieving the public transport system we need.
There are regular members meetings and members are kept up to date on current developments on-line and through the PTUA newsletter. Join the PTUA.
Reviewed: September 2015