ABC online http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/06/19/2279226.htm reports the findings of a AAMI survey in wich 70% of Canberrans drive to work. I expect the following extract will be used by various idealists in the ACT Government (hi John Hargreaves) to push for more punitive revenue raising measures to get more bums (literally and figuritively) onto ACTION buses:
The survey also found public transport use has increased by 3 per cent but is used by just 10 per cent of commuters. The survey went on to say: Mr Crommie says nearly half of commuters surveyed indicated that public transport in Canberra is unreliable.”One third says that it takes too long to get to their destination,” he said. “And a similar number, 35 per cent, said that they can’t use public transport because it’s not available where they live, work or go to school.”
Well, there’s your problem. Buses or light rail might be an utopian ideal for the green leaning hand wringers but when you deviate from the norm, say if you are a single parent with a primary school child, it just ISN’T an option. My scenario: my child’s school is 10 minutes drive from home and my work is another 5 minutes away. So I can drop him to the door shortly before scool starts and pick him up from after school care in the evening then be home within a matter of minutes. By bus in the morning, we would need to be on an 7.30 bus to Woden that gets in at 8.10. Although I could stroll off to work and be in air conditioned comfort within 5 minutes, he would then have a 15 minute layover in the cold, scummy interchange before catching his 8.25 bus to the school, arriving at 8.35 meaning he is outside for another 25 minutes before the bell rings. So that’s an hour and a half from our front door to the time he gets in the classroom (compared to 10 minutes by car). Hometime? Well, after 3 pm either he catches a bus to get home alone (again, with interchange layovers etc) at 4.35pm or if he stays at after school care for me to pick him up (note – I need to sign him out of care, he can’t do it himself) I would need to bus it to his school at the end of work, we go back to the interchange, then get home probably 7 ish. That’s a l-o-n-g day for a child. And it doesn’t take into account longer days for sports training etc. Or if he falls sick through the day.
As a singleton I could cope with a 40 minute bus ride each way although I’d always be frustrated at losing an hour of my day just to be doing “the right thing”. But I really get the irrits at tsk-tsking from this tin-pot local gummint or the greenies for the heanous crime of using my own small car (having paid the same amount of rego each year whether I do 3,000 km or 30,000 km a year) rather than the People’s Glorious Mass Transit Solution. Bah.