10 March 2008

Today Tonight explodes transport myths

Monday 10 March. Today Tonight spoke to transport academic Dr Paul Mees about the performance of public transport in Melbourne. Dr Mees says fewer people are travelling on today's trains than 50 years ago. Why is that so?

1 comment:

gcgeez said...

Um, fewer options, expectations and lifestyle demands? Could it be that now everyone has a car it is just plain sensible to reach your destination by driving?
My father started work 50 years ago and would walk or ride a bike from Kew to the city. That was undoubtedly good for his health particularly as it was safer to ride on the roads back then. Besides, he was not expected to work 10-12 hour days as a professional in those times, did not get retrenched every couple of years so that he had to change work locations, work out in the burbs, etc.
While women's participation in the workforce was minimal 50 years ago shopping meant going into the city or walking to the corner store. This might have accounted for a wider spread of the load carried by PT.
Not sure that it is that helpful to make comparisons that far back but anyone who has lived in any other major city in the world would probably not think Melbourne's PT vehicles that crammed, but then again folks in other cities don't have to wait half an hour for the next service. Most European metros run with less than 5min frequency on average. In these cases, it is no big deal to have to wait for the next vehicle. Can't also help but think that if our society was more civil we would easily fit more bodies on PT vehicles (the video posted on this blog somewhere hardly demonstrates a packed vehicle when compared with cities elsewhere). It's about civil behaviour, really... simple things like not blocking doors, putting only your bum on the seat, that sort of thing. And while on the bodies point, what's the rate of growth in the average Australian body in the last 50 years? We are now among the fattest people the world has ever known and this has to decrease the 'headcount' that can feasibly be accommodated in each vehicle. Frequency and connectivity are the main problems... strap-hanging is good for you if you are going to spend the rest of the day perched in front of a computer.