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Public transport to address cost of living pressures?

By johnboy - 8 September 2011 43

Following on from Zed’s cost of living spray this morning the Greens’ Amanda Bresnan is asking what he plans to do about transport costs:

“Today Mr Seselja pointed to ABS statistics showing the high costs to Canberrans of fuel and transport,” said Greens Transport spokesperson, Amanda Bresnan MLA.

“This is absolutely true, and it is a real problem. But Mr Seselja and the Government both ignore the real meaning of these statistics and are not pushing for investments that can save Canberrans on transport costs.

“The statistics show that current policies are locking Canberrans into car ownership and car usage because of poor transport planning and a lack of alternative options. This is very expensive and will only become expensive.

“The approximate average time that a resident of Canberra has to work in order to pay for their cars is 550 hours a year, or 1 and ½ hours every day of the year.

What’s Your opinion?


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43 Responses to
Public transport to address cost of living pressures?
nice_enough 10:48 am 09 Sep 11

A few years ago I was living in Melbourne and I had my leg in a cast for about 4 months and couldn’t drive, but life went on pretty normally while I was there. I came up to Canberra for three weeks while in the leg cast and found that I was basically trapped in my home which was the same distance (about 3-4km) to the CBD, as was my home in Melbourne. Everything in Canberra is designed to be a car trip away and the public transport system is useless. I couldn’t even use the crutches to get to the shops because there were no foot paths on many of the streets on the route. I feel sorry for anyone that lives in Canberra with a condition (such as epilepsy) that bars them from driving.

The Liberals here seem to complain that the road and parking infrastructure in not good enough, but it seems that no matter what we do re: roads and car parking it’s never enough, its a self perpetuating problem. Make it easier to drive and remove all other options and more people will drive and the traffic and parking gets worse.

johnboy 9:26 am 09 Sep 11

fuel excise?

Rawhide Kid Part3 9:24 am 09 Sep 11

Why cant we use a system like user pays. That is only pay the amount of rego and insurance for the kilometers you have driven. Not what you might drive on a yearly basis. You could be billed on a three or six monthly basis after use. A bit like how you pay your energy bills . You don’t pay say $400 for electricity before you use it do you? The argument that every one has to pay x amount of dollars for using our roads whether they drive 40.000km or 100km per year is a crock. Just like the buses, the more you use them the more you pay as with the longer the distance on buses (even Trains) you travel the more you pay. Doesn’t that make sense than the rego system we have now? And yes i know there would be a problem with insurance with this idea. But there are always ways around that.

Innovation 7:23 am 09 Sep 11

I understand the theories that, once people own a car they tend to drive everywhere and, once people have started travelling in their car they tend to travel the whole distance by car. I don’t see how this behaviour is going to radically change until there are more incentives.

For example, until bus travel is cheaper than the direct car cost for travelling the same distance (ie fuel, more regular maintenance, any depreciation based on km’s travelled and possibly insurance (if the premium is based on km’s travelled) there isn’t going to be much change in behaviour. To encourage this, public transport corridors should be more heavily utilised by offerring free parking at major intersections (not town centres that take time to drive in and out of), regular buses along transport corridors and gold coin (eg $1) bus travel along those corridors only.

Also, there should be more incentives for shared car ownership so people don’t feel so obliged to use their cars because of the fixed costs. I know some people LOVE their cars but many of us just consider them a means to get from A to B and only need them occasionally. Hire cars get pretty expensive especially if used as much as weekly. For example, there is pressure for the number of car parks per unit in apartments along major corridors be reduced. This might actually be effective if the body corporates for those apartments were required to provide a certain number of communal cars for the complex.

emd 11:18 pm 08 Sep 11

When I lived in Melbourne, I used public transport or walked everywhere. I owned a very nice small car, but it was just easier and cheaper to use trains and trams. So I sold my car.

Now, I drive most of the time. I don’t want to. I just can’t get where I need to go, at the times of day I travel, with public transport.

I get that bigger cities have a concentration of population that makes public transport more affordable. The difficulty is that Canberra would be a lot more liveable with a better public transport system. To sit back and say “oh it’s the fault of people for not living in higher density housing” ignores the fact that some people have no choice but to use their car until there is an alternative on offer.

gooterz 4:39 pm 08 Sep 11

Pretty much everyone needs transport!

Some pay for it thought rego, some pay for it though bus fares.

What if we had a tax of ~$400 a year for everyone! So this money went towards paying for buses and reducing rego.

This way people who catch a bus half the time and drive the other half of the time pay once for transport, not twice. Currently if you own a car and catch a bus your paying for wear and tear on a road your car isnt driving on, in addition to a ticket you have to pay for.

The great outcome of this is then no tickets so people are more likely to catch buses, because they’ve already paid for them. Also the goverment saves by not having to produce a ticket system the only loss is the tourist traffic which you would think would be much smaller than what tickets would cost. Plus you’d get increased tourism. Faster buses because just fill up and move on without worrying about tickets.

Plus it means that those who choose to cycle on the roads get to pay for their bike lanes!
Also it would cost virtually nothing.

johnboy 4:26 pm 08 Sep 11

As someone who just rejoined the ranks of the car owners and has no local transport need for one:

1) Shopping at Aldi.
2) Trips to the coast.
3) Rainy days

And as noted once you have a car the cost per km goes down as you drive it more.

zippyzippy 4:25 pm 08 Sep 11

RedDogInCan said :

zippyzippy said :

Well, she’s right. Cars are damn expensive, and if the Government doesn’t provide other alternatives to car travel then it hurts people.

Ironically, making cars cheaper might actually reduce their use because it is the high fixed costs (depreciation, rego, insurance) that act as an incentive to drive more. Let me provide an example from my own car over the past 12 months:

$3227 Depreciation
$589 Insurance
$725 Registration

So that is $4541 per year before it even leaves the garage. The only way to get any value for that money is to drive it as much as possible. In the last 12 months I have travelled 17,800km, so my fixed costs work out at 26 cents per kilometre.

In addition, I used $1466 in fuel, which works out at just 8 cents per kilometre for fuel, giving a total of 34 cents per kilometre.

As my variable costs per kilometre are less than a third of my fixed costs per kilometre, there is a good incentive to drive more because it reduces the total cost per kilometre. The more I drive, the cheaper it gets. If the fixed costs were lower then it wouldn’t cost so much to leave the car in the garage.

In comparison, I also have a bicycle in the garage that costs around $20 per year in depreciation. I barely use it at all.

What you want is a city that has good enough transport that you can get by with as few cars as possible. Then you save all those costs. The way Canberra’s working at the moment, lots of people have to own two cars so they suffer all those costs you mentioned.

zippyzippy 4:23 pm 08 Sep 11

Ben_Dover said :

The statistics show that current policies are locking Canberrans into car ownership and car usage because of poor transport planning and a lack of alternative options.

Utter bullcrap and typical Greeny fantasy speak. People would still choose to use their cars even if the government laid on a public service of the highest luxury, with a guarantee of no sweaty pleb sharing your seat, which ran to the destination of your choice and dropped you at the door, and which departed every five minutes.

Man alive, that would be brilliant. I would never use a car if that was the case. In the very least I bet heaps of families would feel they no longer need to own more than one car. Heaps of savings there. If you had a brilliant PT system, that saved you costs, people would be using it – just as occurs in other places around the world. Canberrans aren’t stupid.

Deref 4:02 pm 08 Sep 11

Soooo – she’s suggesting that, along with the costs associated with our cars, we should pay a lot more to provide a better public transport system?

Yeah. That’ll reduce living costs. No problems.

Or is she suggesting that we should build a public transport system that’s so good that we won’t need cars? That sounds like it wouldn’t cost much at all.

Ben_Dover 3:57 pm 08 Sep 11

The statistics show that current policies are locking Canberrans into car ownership and car usage because of poor transport planning and a lack of alternative options.

Utter bullcrap and typical Greeny fantasy speak. People would still choose to use their cars even if the government laid on a public service of the highest luxury, with a guarantee of no sweaty pleb sharing your seat, which ran to the destination of your choice and dropped you at the door, and which departed every five minutes.

Jim Jones 3:48 pm 08 Sep 11

What cost of living pressures? The ABS stats show that we’re better off than we’ve ever been, that petrol eats up less of the family budget than it did 6 years ago, etc.

Henny penny bullsh1t as per usual from politicians of all stripes.

RedDogInCan 2:58 pm 08 Sep 11

zippyzippy said :

Well, she’s right. Cars are damn expensive, and if the Government doesn’t provide other alternatives to car travel then it hurts people.

Ironically, making cars cheaper might actually reduce their use because it is the high fixed costs (depreciation, rego, insurance) that act as an incentive to drive more. Let me provide an example from my own car over the past 12 months:

$3227 Depreciation
$589 Insurance
$725 Registration

So that is $4541 per year before it even leaves the garage. The only way to get any value for that money is to drive it as much as possible. In the last 12 months I have travelled 17,800km, so my fixed costs work out at 26 cents per kilometre.

In addition, I used $1466 in fuel, which works out at just 8 cents per kilometre for fuel, giving a total of 34 cents per kilometre.

As my variable costs per kilometre are less than a third of my fixed costs per kilometre, there is a good incentive to drive more because it reduces the total cost per kilometre. The more I drive, the cheaper it gets. If the fixed costs were lower then it wouldn’t cost so much to leave the car in the garage.

In comparison, I also have a bicycle in the garage that costs around $20 per year in depreciation. I barely use it at all.

Postalgeek 2:20 pm 08 Sep 11

So if ‘transport’ costs don’t include fuel, what are we talking about? Parking, rego, mechanics, insurance?

Does the figure include car repayments, in which case the amount people pay is purely personal choice (One person’s ‘transport’ costs are going to be completely different to another person’s transport costs if one is driving a cheap hatchback and the other is driving a high end European sedan)? And if we’re not, what the heck are people doing to spend on average $275 per week on top of fuel costs?

The term ‘transport cost’ is unclear and generic, and can encompass everything or virtually nothing. Maybe someone can throw some light onto what is involved with ‘transport costs’.

zippyzippy 2:04 pm 08 Sep 11

Well, she’s right. Cars are damn expensive, and if the Government doesn’t provide other alternatives to car travel then it hurts people. Also if the city is just based around cars, then what about all those people who can’t drive because they’re elderly or disabled or whatever? No options.

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