30 August 2007

Desperately seeking solutions

Concerned commuters crowded into the Melbourne Town Hall in search of solutions to Melbourne’s public transport crisis. With trains, trams and roads filled to capacity, our city struggles to meet day-to-day transport needs.

The meeting heard the latest ideas for better public transport from Paul Mees (transport academic), Janet Rice (MTF Chair) and Peter Fitzgerald (infrastructure expert).

Were you there? Share your feedback.


Raelene West said...

The first comment I would like to make is that as a commuter who requires the use of a wheelchair for mobility, it is a relief to be finally able to use some of Melbourne’s public transport system. The roll out of accessible trams and buses and the upgrading of train infrastructure too meet access requirements has no doubt been slow. However as someone who has not been able to use much of the public transport system before now, it is a relief to be able to at least get on some of the accessible trams and buses to move around Melbourne, and it is great to see the gradual roll out of the platform stops increasing the number of stops trams can be accessed from. Although there is still a long way to go to rolling out a fully accessible public transport system, I would like to voice the need for those people making plans and decisions on the future of Melbourne’s public transport system, to prioritise access for those with mobility impairments, rather than thinking of access needs as a footnote and as something of an after thought of the main issues. Thinking like this in the past resulted in the exclusion of access to the public transport system for people with mobility impairments and required, and is still requiring, significant upgrades to meet access needs.

Secondly, following Dr Mees presentation at last night forum on the dire state of public transport in Melbourne, I agree with Dr Mees in that there are considerable problems with Melbourne’s transport system, however I would also like to pose to Dr Mees with his highly analytical mind, if he could possibly expand on any positive initiatives (even just one!) in the entire Melbourne transport system? Are we doing anything at all right Dr Mees?

Adam said...

I would also like to ask Paul Mees how buses fit into the Zurich PT system. A lot of emphasis has only been placed on rail.

timhoffmann said...

It was well organised however it think jackie overdid the intros a bit and the questions went of for a bit too long.

I hope the DOI reps report back as well as the planted ALP spys!

I'm optimistic that the overwelming public support for majors changes will result in some significant announcements. Let's just hope they are not just about engineering projects but are actually about addressing the pt needs of our community !

Citizen-journalist said...

I overwhelmingly agree that out PT system needs a major overhaul and I'm a car free PT person. However, I think we need to be careful to avoid accusing others of spreading lies and misinformation and then presenting unclear and deceptive information ourselves.

It was inaccurate and misrepresentative to suggest that there are 1700 DOI employees responsible for running our public transport system. DOI has many functions and includes freight, marine, ports, walking and cycling, research and policy development. We heard at the forum that the Public Transport Division of DOI is around 350 people.

Also, I noticed that on the chart presented by Paul Mees on patronage trends on public transport in the 1950's compared to now, that the data only went up to 2003. Given the substancial increase in public transport patronage in the last few years (growth of around 20% in the last 2 years alone) the numbers would be substancially different.

I'm not saying that carrying the same number of passengers as the system did in the 50's is good enough, I'm just saying that PT advocates need to be clear about the information they are presenting and need to not misrepresent the situation in the interests of supporting thier arguements.

crackerau1@yahoo.com.au said...

I agree that the Public transport system needs a lot of investment. i think initiatives like underground railways are needed, but always thought that the Doncaster line was the priority. I would underground it to Melbourne Uni and then to the City, with stops in Kew, Clifton Hill, Fitzroy and Collingwood to interface with trams.
I think that it is important to improve bus services in the outer suburbs, as a lot of transfer to Public transport will happen with faster, more direct bus services. Also Light rail systems could be a cheaper alternatives in new suburbs and should be part of new developments, with corresponding reductions in road provision.

sueglossy said...

Paul Mees is targeting the negatives (of which preponderate the positives eight times over) so that they can be mitigated and changed to a better direction. Complacency is not welcome, in other words.

Raelene says "Are we doing anything right". Raelene, are you implying that you work for the DOI? I would be most interested to know if that Devil of PT director Jim Betts actually reads his email. I sent some feedback to him 3 months ago. I still await a response.

Ed of Doncaster said...

Get away from the Iron Horse mentality.
Transport that is stuck on steel tracks is not the answer to widespread Melbourne.

AdamH said...

I read Paul Mees' book "A Very Public Solution" and it, like the PTUA website, presents a bunch of detailed suggestions and plans to actually fix the PT system in Melbourne. This information has been around for so long that it's frustrating and demoralising that successive governments have ignored it and chosen instead to commit to huge road building projects. These projects look grand and have an instant gratification outcome. Unfortunately, it always goes bad as increased car useage follows, which leads to more road building...
It's like trying to cure obesity by wearing larger size clothes.

AdamH said...

To Ed of Doncaster:
A recent forum I attended had a transport expert from WA who said that one train line (for the "iron horses") can carry the equivalent of 40 lanes of freeway traffic. I'll say that again: 1 train line = 40 freeway lanes. These are then combined with cross-town buses (or "horseless carriages") that are well integrated into the train timetables. You can still use your car too. At least you won't be sitting still in grid-locked traffic.