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Public transport failure?

By 15 January 2013 57

The ABC has word on an RMIT study on Canberra’s public transport policy which is less than kind.

The national study by a Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) academic found Canberra was no where near meeting any of its sustainable transport targets.

It says the national capital has experienced a sustained decline in public transport and a steady rise in car driving over most of the past two decades.

Canberra was the only capital city where public transport share actually fell in the five years to 2011.

The report blames poor policies which have focussed on road construction while reversing successful public transport measures in place until the late 1980s.

Who would have thought mouthing empty platitudes wouldn’t pay off?

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57 Responses to Public transport failure?
#1
davo1019:49 am, 15 Jan 13

p. 25 if you want to read the original. My favourite bit:

Current plans to replace one of the ‘frequent’ services with a light rail line do not change the fundamentally flawed nature of planning a public transport system that offers a real choice to only a minority of the population. Rather, it confirms that Canberra’s light rail scheme runs the risk of replicating the poor performance of some US light rail systems and Sydney’s single line.

#2
Rollersk8r10:18 am, 15 Jan 13

davo101 said :

p. 25 if you want to read the original. My favourite bit:

Current plans to replace one of the ‘frequent’ services with a light rail line do not change the fundamentally flawed nature of planning a public transport system that offers a real choice to only a minority of the population. Rather, it confirms that Canberra’s light rail scheme runs the risk of replicating the poor performance of some US light rail systems and Sydney’s single line.

Strongly agree!

#3
Antagonist10:34 am, 15 Jan 13

Rollersk8r said :

davo101 said :

p. 25 if you want to read the original. My favourite bit:

Current plans to replace one of the ‘frequent’ services with a light rail line do not change the fundamentally flawed nature of planning a public transport system that offers a real choice to only a minority of the population. Rather, it confirms that Canberra’s light rail scheme runs the risk of replicating the poor performance of some US light rail systems and Sydney’s single line.

Strongly agree!

Shane obviously did not read that part: “Certainly we need to get the balance right and put more effort into public transport, Mr Rattenbury said. “That’s why I’m very pleased that as a result of the Greens-Labor parliamentary agreement we are moving towards developing light rail in the ACT. Nice one, Shane :)

The author of the study sums it up nicely right here: “But the bottom line in terms of service frequency, connections, speed and directness of service… then that’s generally got worse in the last few years.”

#4
Chop7110:42 am, 15 Jan 13

Why not give light rail to those who have waited the longest, ie Woden / Belconnen and then Tuggers.

No wonder residents outside the inner north voted like they did in the last election.

#5
johnboy10:46 am, 15 Jan 13

Belco voted pretty well for the government…

of course a headline candidate pairing of Coe and Dunne wouldn’t have helped.

#6
Ray Polglaze11:21 am, 15 Jan 13

It’s worth reading the two pages on Canberra in the report (pp. 25-26). It’s a comprehensive fail by the Labor Government. Mees concludes “Canberra needs to replace its current transport policies with an approach based on the experience of cities where public transport has succeeded, not those where it has failed”. But is this a realistic proposal?

http://mams.rmit.edu.au/ov14prh13lps1.pdf

#7
Diggety11:26 am, 15 Jan 13

Antagonist said :

Rollersk8r said :

davo101 said :

p. 25 if you want to read the original. My favourite bit:

Current plans to replace one of the ‘frequent’ services with a light rail line do not change the fundamentally flawed nature of planning a public transport system that offers a real choice to only a minority of the population. Rather, it confirms that Canberra’s light rail scheme runs the risk of replicating the poor performance of some US light rail systems and Sydney’s single line.

Strongly agree!

Shane obviously did not read that part: “Certainly we need to get the balance right and put more effort into public transport, Mr Rattenbury said. “That’s why I’m very pleased that as a result of the Greens-Labor parliamentary agreement we are moving towards developing light rail in the ACT. Nice one, Shane :)

So a major study is conducted into transport studies, and our minister for transport doesn’t read it. But makes public comment on it anyway.

I don’t think Shane Rattenbury hasn’t dropped his Greenpeace work ethic at all. A worry considering the importance of his portfolios.

#8
HiddenDragon11:49 am, 15 Jan 13

After a suitable period of hand wringing and various other gestures of concern, this, and other such studies will be used as another excuse to increase parking fees, introduce parking fees where they do not yet apply, and reduce parking spaces – all in order to “encourage” car-driving recalcitrants to use more sustainable forms of transport. In the meantime, the elected officials, and their senior non-elected courtiers, will continue to enjoy their publicly funded cars and privileged parking spaces.

#9
Ben_Dover12:05 pm, 15 Jan 13

davo101 said :

p. 25 if you want to read the original. My favourite bit:

Current plans to replace one of the ‘frequent’ services with a light rail line do not change the fundamentally flawed nature of planning a public transport system that offers a real choice to only a minority of the population. Rather, it confirms that Canberra’s light rail scheme runs the risk of replicating the poor performance of some US light rail systems and Sydney’s single line.

Well that virtually guarantees we’re going to get the bloody thing then.

You vote out the greens at election time, and still end up with the greens holding the balance of power, you’re stuffed.

Alice down the rabbit hole stuff, but with a Rat instead of a rabbit.

#10
Deref12:20 pm, 15 Jan 13

HiddenDragon said :

After a suitable period of hand wringing and various other gestures of concern, this, and other such studies will be used as another excuse to increase parking fees, introduce parking fees where they do not yet apply, and reduce parking spaces – all in order to “encourage” car-driving recalcitrants to use more sustainable forms of transport. In the meantime, the elected officials, and their senior non-elected courtiers, will continue to enjoy their publicly funded cars and privileged parking spaces.

Bingo.

#11
Jivrashia1:28 pm, 15 Jan 13

reversing successful public transport measures in place until the late 1980s.

What were they?
I can understand measures being eroded by the ever increasing density of the population and traffic, but what were those that were actually REVERSED?

#12
thebrownstreak691:37 pm, 15 Jan 13

Chop71 said :

Why not give light rail to those who have waited the longest, ie Woden / Belconnen and then Tuggers.

No wonder residents outside the inner north voted like they did in the last election.

The intertown service is what works – why implement light rail?

#13
Martlark1:39 pm, 15 Jan 13

The big advantage of light rail is the great cost and the inflexibility of the fixed route. Let me explain: if you’ve spent huge dollars on something you’re more likely to encourage it and make it work. ie: increased Government commitment to getting it popular. The fixed route means that people can now rely upon the transport infrastructure and not have to worry that a wave of the hand can change the route (common with bus routes).

#14
davo1011:41 pm, 15 Jan 13

Jivrashia said :

reversing successful public transport measures in place until the late 1980s.

What were they?
I can understand measures being eroded by the ever increasing density of the population and traffic, but what were those that were actually REVERSED?

p.7 ff

#15
Diggety1:47 pm, 15 Jan 13

Jivrashia said :

reversing successful public transport measures in place until the late 1980s.

What were they?
I can understand measures being eroded by the ever increasing density of the population and traffic, but what were those that were actually REVERSED?

Increased population densities and traffic are more likely to increase public transport. Instead the opposite has happened.

Or so my Urban Planning friends tell me.

#16
johnboy1:49 pm, 15 Jan 13

Bicycles count as private transport no?

#17
Pirate_Biggles1:53 pm, 15 Jan 13

Jivrashia said :

reversing successful public transport measures in place until the late 1980s.

What were they?
I can understand measures being eroded by the ever increasing density of the population and traffic, but what were those that were actually REVERSED?

I found this:
“Fifty years of public transport planning in Canberra” by the same author.
http://www.atrf.info/papers/2012/2012_Mees.pdf
Which has a fairly succinct breakdown of the reversal of policy.

It is a pity to have a published study confirm that our proposed transport policy was aimed in the right direction of restoring Canberra to a ‘Transit City’.

This might be worth remembering 4 years down the track.

Stuart Biggs
Pirate Party ACT.

#18
Chop711:57 pm, 15 Jan 13

johnboy said :

Belco voted pretty well for the government…

of course a headline candidate pairing of Coe and Dunne wouldn’t have helped.

West Belconnen didn’t and I would suspect there to be a greater swing away from the inner north parties come the next election should policy remain the same.

#19
Chop711:58 pm, 15 Jan 13

thebrownstreak69 said :

Chop71 said :

Why not give light rail to those who have waited the longest, ie Woden / Belconnen and then Tuggers.

No wonder residents outside the inner north voted like they did in the last election.

The intertown service is what works – why implement light rail?

So those bus resources and drivers could be used more efficiently on feeder services.

#20
Rollersk8r2:30 pm, 15 Jan 13

Without supposed public transport problems (and the sub-topic of cyclists vs. motorists) what else would we have to talk about in Canberra??

#21
Canberracanuck2:30 pm, 15 Jan 13

I love how people moan about how the expense of constructing infrastructure for public transport (whether for trains or buses) can never be recouped, how it’s always going to operate at a loss…as if the construction of vast networks of asphalt for private automobiles somehow doesn’t have exactly the same problem.

#22
Felix the Cat2:43 pm, 15 Jan 13

johnboy said :

Bicycles count as private transport no?

Don’t get me started on those darn cyclists, clogging up the roads, knocking pedestrians down on paths and moving all the tables in the coffee shops while prancing around in their lycra outfits and not paying rego. Did I miss anything?

#23
Ray Polglaze2:48 pm, 15 Jan 13

This report by Mees on the history of public transport in Canberra that was referred to by Pirate Biggles suggests that the Canberra community has demonstrated a remarkbale talent for converting success into failure. It’s well worth reading to see how it’s done.

http://www.atrf.info/papers/2012/2012_Mees.pdf

#24
damien haas3:33 pm, 15 Jan 13

While providing a nice headline, I think Paul Mees is looking backwards rather than forwards.

The ACT Light Rail response is on our blog here:
http://www.actlightrail.info/2013/01/canberra-spectacular-transport-policy.html

You cant excuse government policy failure from the past, but credit needs to be given to present policy initiatives – and people need to ensure that these policies move from election platform promises to properly funded projects.

Damien Haas
Chair, ACT Light Rail

#25
aussielyn3:58 pm, 15 Jan 13

The one certainty is that roads will be more congested with increasing population. Population increases outside the ACT will add more commuter pressure. Once Googong is populated, the Monaro Hghy and Canberra Ave will turn into car parks during peak hours.
The railway line is an under-utilized transport corridor that may be sacrificed for the East Lake development. The Cooma line, if restored, could service Jerra etc. This line, if extended, could run on the Wentworth Ave & Brisbane Ave medians.
Contracts for phase one of the light rail network must be financially tightly controlled so they run on time and on budget. If this is not done other, future phases, will be in jeopardy. Turning this issue into a political football is the worst thing that could happen.
I wish the minister and those working on the public transport strategy and implementation all the best. The battle is just starting.

#26
Martlark5:21 pm, 15 Jan 13

quote” Mr Rattenbury said the key to enticing passengers onto buses was to make services better.”

Read more: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/transport-failure-spectacular-20130114-2cq4z.html#ixzz2I1RPA2HA

You can’t entice car drivers into a bus. This is at the heart of the Government’s failure to boost public transport. The idea that you can make a bus more attractive than a car is pure fantasy. Pretty much the only way you’ll get a Canberran out of a car is to make car driving so awful, expensive and inconvenient that a bus seems better.

#27
Richard Bender7:10 pm, 15 Jan 13

Canberracanuck said :

I love how people moan about how the expense of constructing infrastructure for public transport (whether for trains or buses) can never be recouped, how it’s always going to operate at a loss…as if the construction of vast networks of asphalt for private automobiles somehow doesn’t have exactly the same problem.

It doesn’t. The amount paid by motorists in fuel excise is much greater than governments spend on construction and maintenance of roads.

What people like Dr Mees need to realise is that there is no failure here. While some people don’t want to drive, can’t afford to run a car or can’t drive, the majority of people in Canberra are voting with their feet…or wheels, as the case might be. The local administration is doing the right thing by providing the infrastructure for motorists.

If some negative externality, such as emissions of carbon dioxide, exists, the correct response is to price that externality (which the Commonwealth effectively already does by setting the excise at a higher rate than necessary to pay for roads), not force people to use a mode of transport they don’t want to use. If the problem is scarcity of oil – which it won’t be for a while yet – that will be reflected in the price of fuel.

#28
miz8:10 pm, 15 Jan 13

Jivrashia, the half-hour suburban bus was ‘reversed’ to two hourly.

#29
joingler8:32 pm, 15 Jan 13

Martlark said :

quote” Mr Rattenbury said the key to enticing passengers onto buses was to make services better.”

Read more: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/transport-failure-spectacular-20130114-2cq4z.html#ixzz2I1RPA2HA

You can’t entice car drivers into a bus. This is at the heart of the Government’s failure to boost public transport. The idea that you can make a bus more attractive than a car is pure fantasy. Pretty much the only way you’ll get a Canberran out of a car is to make car driving so awful, expensive and inconvenient that a bus seems better.

Isn’t that what they are trying to do?

I am 100% reliant on public transport as I don’t have a drivers license and I am too lazy to ride my bike. 5 days a week, I think Canberra has a good network (except for Weston Creek). I can get anywhere I need to go easily. People are just too lazy to get up that little bit earlier. Obviously people who live in Oaks Estate, Hall and Tharwa are excused from my previous statement.

That being said, the service on weekends is terrible. Unless you only travel on the intertown route, you have no hope of getting anywhere on a weekend.

#30
zippyzippy9:15 pm, 15 Jan 13

Diggety said :

Antagonist said :

Rollersk8r said :

davo101 said :

p. 25 if you want to read the original. My favourite bit:

Current plans to replace one of the ‘frequent’ services with a light rail line do not change the fundamentally flawed nature of planning a public transport system that offers a real choice to only a minority of the population. Rather, it confirms that Canberra’s light rail scheme runs the risk of replicating the poor performance of some US light rail systems and Sydney’s single line.

Strongly agree!

Shane obviously did not read that part: “Certainly we need to get the balance right and put more effort into public transport, Mr Rattenbury said. “That’s why I’m very pleased that as a result of the Greens-Labor parliamentary agreement we are moving towards developing light rail in the ACT. Nice one, Shane :)

So a major study is conducted into transport studies, and our minister for transport doesn’t read it. But makes public comment on it anyway.

I don’t think Shane Rattenbury hasn’t dropped his Greenpeace work ethic at all. A worry considering the importance of his portfolios.

Bit if a non-sequitur there.

You can’t make those assumptions about the guy just his one newspaper quote. The report also says that all the cities that have had a resurgence in public transport patronage have done so using rail based systems. That’s what canberra’s moving to. Shane could very well have been talking about that.

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