Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Improved Public Transport?

I receive Twitter updates to my phone from Yarra Trams, Metro Trains and VLine (country). Until I added them to my Twitter feed, I never realised quite how disastrous Melbourne's and Victoria's public transport system is. Tweeting delays might be good customer service in these social media times, but it does not paint a good picture of our public transport.

The only state government I can recall that was serious about public transport was the Cain Labor government in the eighties, but so much money was misspent and wasted.

The present Liberal state government did not win on promises of improved public transport. The previous government may well have lost on the lack of improvement to public transport.

You see kiddies, you can't just keep increasing the population without providing more services, including public transport. The $8 billion that is to spent on the Fox Tunnel, East West Link, to principally benefit freight companies is a disgrace. $8 billion could help our public transport system rather a lot. It could also help with the grossly inadequate roads in our very outer suburbs where developer mates of our state governing Liberal Party make mega profits from land development of what was good farmland.

I was ambivalent about the East West Tunnel when it was announced. But the more I heard about it, the more of a shocking waste of money it seemed to be. Big road expansion projects are only ever a temporary solution and quickly fill with more traffic.

I don't drive on country roads very often, but I hear the long and loud complaints about the deterioration of country roads. Huge amounts are spent on freeways, toll roads and town bypasses, but so little on maintenance of local roads in the country, that is the ones people drive on all the time. 

Even the state government's promises haven't been kept. How much does a simple railway station on an existing line cost? I shouldn't think that much, yet there is still no Southland railway station. That the centre was allowed to be built at all without a station when the line went past was wrong.

Most of what seems to be happening was planned and funded by the previous government, from new trains, trams and the Regional Rail Link.

Possibly the state government could give me a long list of its own transport projects and achievements, but it needs to remember, politics is as much about impressions as facts and the impression is not good.

20 comments:

  1. It's like in Poland the situation is similiar our public trasport system is a bad condition. But what is the most important here where I live Upper Silesia situation is serious because 2 million people live and traffic jams in rush hour are awful.

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    1. I have an image in my head now of streets jammed with cars that don't go anywhere all day because the people got out and left them there while they walked to work.

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    2. Gosia, your tram system, while it has some old vehicles, it seems to be quite a good service and cheap.

      River, we aren't to that stage yet, but it may well happen.

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  2. Although tickets are the most expensive in my country- conditions of travelling as not as good. Probably our government waste a lot of money for different aims but not transport.

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    1. Gosia, governments do like to spend money where they will get votes. It is the first lesson of politics.

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  3. Our public transport here in Canberra is woeful. Buses is it. And if you want to travel on a weekend? Allow looooong waits and prepare to walk. Lots of the bus stops are simply not operational on the weekend. And the buses run much more rarely.
    The bus system runs at a loss. Quelle surprise.

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    1. Our buses are a little better lately since "they" changed the timetables yet again, but weekends are still as they were with most buses only every half hour and some only every hour.

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    2. EC, I honestly did not pay much attention to them when we visited last year, but infrequent buses will never be successful.

      River, isn't there a new operator for your buses?

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  4. Our system here in Portland is pretty good. San Francisco has a great system but that's about it for the US except NY.

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    1. Rubye, it is often mentioned as been quite good. Very sad about the couple of old tourist trams being withdrawn, even if the were only replicas.

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  5. print off a few thousand copies of this and send one a week to each of the major governing parties. Minor parties too if you like, just keep on sending them and clip a copy to your voting paper too. Use gloves so you don't leave fingerprints...

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    1. River, I really like the idea of clipping it to my voting paper.

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  6. It would be a pity if your country roads have deteriorated.

    About twenty years ago I drove to Melbourne for a wedding and was struck by the stark contrast between the condition of the Hume Highway on your side of the border compared with our side.

    Your side was beautifully smooth fully divided multiple lane all the way from the border to Melbourne. Our side was a hotpotch of improved bits amongst long stretches of undivided sometimes one lane each way road.

    Ever since I've always assumed Victoria had far better country roads than NSW.

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    1. Victor, it is all dual carriageway now and a good road, but yes this side was completed much earlier, but then it is not nearly as long.

      I was meaning more the lesser country roads and I don't think there would be much difference. Ours might have been better, but I think they have now deteriorated significantly.

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  7. The present conservative state government did not win on promises of improved public transport.... I believe that to be true. I doubt if a rusted-on conservative voter has ever gone to work in a tram or train in his/her life.

    So it sounds ironic to my ears but I don't blame conservative governments for not improving public transport. Their constituency has other demands.

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    1. Hels, I know many rusted on conservative voters use public transport. Look at all the older people in Malvern, Kew, Hawthorn, Toorak who are frequent users.

      Our friend in Brighton I am sure votes Liberal, as does our friend in Caulfield and another in Ormond and another in St Kilda East and they are all pt users.

      I suppose it is too much to expect governments to govern for all.

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  8. Our roads are awful. I am so glad that I go against traffic. Though last night it took me over an hour to get home due to one road being shut. (usual trip 20 - 30 mins) It turned the surrounds into complete hell.

    Still, faster than public transport for me.

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    1. I saw your tweet Fen. I heard something on the radio later, ah that was why Fen's trip home took so long.

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  9. I don't use public transport that often but its always been very efficient when I have. The Mitchell Freeway to the northern suburbs has had heaps of work done but it still can be quite slow at peak times.. And the way Perth's population is exploding... we'll see how it copes :)

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    1. Grace, your train to Mandurah is often mentioned as a good example of building a new train line at a reasonable price.

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