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Comment – Public transport in Melbourne, Transport Newsletter #26

Posted in Policies by Ferne Edwards on August 15th, 2007

By guest author, Stephen Ingrouille, Principal, Going Solar
Reproduced with permission from Transport Newsletter #26,

Public Transport in Melbourne

I’m not for one minute asking people to put up with this for a long period of time but I would ask them to persevere … to allow us put the changes in place.” [Ref: The Age 27/7/07]

Public Transport Minister Lynne Kosky on over-crowding. In Victoria we have the backbone of a good transit system but we just seem to lack the will to make it an excellent system. Why is there this intransigence? Hardly a day goes by without someone commenting on mismatching services. A speaker at a recent forum on German tram systems, in answer to a question, stated that two buses and two trams typically arrive at the same spot at the same time and exchange passengers before moving on. His answer was so matter-of fact that one shivers when we consider the misconnections in our city. And shiver I did while waiting 30 minutes at Glenferrie Station for a train into the city and then 17 minutes
for a connecting tram to South Melbourne Beach. Are thirty minute gaps on a main line in the mid evening really appropriate?

The other problem is lack of infrastructure development in urban areas. The classic line: ‘Nobody catches public transport any more, its too crowded takes on a different meaning when the full trams glide by and the ‘nobodies are left waiting at the stops. As Peter Newman points out, in Melbourne we keep talking about extending our train lines but simply fail act: “…Melbourne just can’t seem to bring itself to put in these rail systems that they’ve planned…” [Ref: ABC AM 27/6/07].

What to do? If we are serious about Congestion, Fuel Prices, Greenhouse Gases, Pollution and Peak Oil then everybody working in or for sustainable transport needs to work in concert and actually establish an excellent system.

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