Saturday, June 04, 2005

Public transport

It is a motherhood statement I suppose. Really, I wish it was.

Melbourne needs better public transport. Check out
Hecho En Mexico for some debate on Melbourne's public transport. Visit the Public Transport Users Association too and support it and the people who give their time without payment and little thanks.

There are some new motorways under consideration in Melbourne and there is one that I agree with, that is the linking of the Eastern Freeway to the Tullamarine Freeway. But beside that, freeways are a bit useless mostly.

Here is my anecdote on freeways.

In the early eighties, we bought our first house in Waverley Rd, East Malvern. It was a busy enough road, but down the bottom of the road where it joined Lower Malvern Road, it was very busy. The freeway stopped at Warrigal Road and the traffic used to filter through the middle suburbs to get to the city. The freeway was then extended to, I think, Toronga Road.

Three days after it opened, I went to check out Waverley Road in the morning peak. I had our dog in tow for a walk and it was dead quiet. Not a car hardly.

Freeways are great, I concluded. The freeway has removed all this traffic.

Step forward roughly 13 years and we are living elsewhere and I suggested to R that a good way to work was Waverley Road. He said no. It is too busy.

Step forward a few months and I had an occasion to see Waverley Road in the morning peak and I was astonished that it was just a long line of stop and start cars.

What changed? The number of cars grew because the ease of travel grew. You can slag me about population growth etc, but it is a thin argument.

A government spokesperson was recently heard to say how we Melbournians need to get used to traffic jams and congestion.

It might be a lot better for the government to spend money on good, and not token, public transport rather than freeways.

Getting very localised here now, but doesn't Doncaster need a heavy rail route. How much I have heard and how little has ever been done. This whole wedge of Melbourne without a train line.


  1. Agree fully.

    Another thing is that carrying increasing car traffic has diseconomies of scale, whereas a greater mode share for public transport tends to increase its cost recovery.

    Cities with the highest cost-recovery for PT have high service levels and high modal shares. Studies by Newman & Kenworthy reveal that those cities that have the highest proportion of GDP spent on transport are also the most car-dependent.

    Rgds, Peter

  2. Sorry, I don't know what disconnomies means. A tram without a connie?