ABC Melbourne uses one of its very personable producers in the morning to seek out traffic and public transport information so that listeners are alerted to problems, accidents, delays etc. ABC Melbourne used to do the same in the afternoon but suddenly, without any explanation that I heard, outsourced its afternoon traffic information to a private company called Australian Traffic Network.
It is probably a good move. ABC Melbourne depended heavily on Vic Roads for information and it seemed very unreliable and slow. I learnt of this new company a while ago and I was quite ready to be critical of the ABC decision, but after some time, I think they provide a superior but still a very personalised service. I have just checked and they are providing the service for ABC Sydney and many other ABC radio stations.
I always worry about our taxpayer funded ABC's connections with private companies and the potential of commercial interests coming to the fore, but in this case, on the surface it seems ok, although there doesn't seem to be a competitor to the Australian Traffic Network.
I would rest much easier if it was all a lot more transparent. What is the deal between the ABC and the Australian Traffic Network? What was the deal between ABC Melbourne and City Link so that their radio broadcast could be heard in the City Link's tunnels?
While I resigned as a member of our local gay radio station, JOY, over transparency and keeping members informed, I can't resign from the ABC, but I can ask and query.
Australian Traffic Network website is here if you want to take a look.