PTUA transport

The Age highlights transport

Talking to reporters(Updated Sunday, and Monday)

The Age has launched a major series of articles about the public transport system. Well worth reading. I (and the PTUA) don’t necessarily totally agree with the myriad of points of view expressed, but it’s good to see this debate getting the attention it deserves, which will hopefully convince the government to do something.

While a third of Melbourne has usable (but crowded and slow) public transport, two-thirds do not, so it’s no wonder they’re not using it. The government claim to have already spent up big on improving the system, but market share isn’t moving markedly, so it’s obviously been mis-spent.

The Age Saturday cover

The story has also had TV (channels 2, 7 and 9 on Saturday; channel 10 on Monday) and radio coverage.

I know there’s plenty of people out there who want to see an improvement. Now is the time to make some noise. Approach your local MP; write a letter to the local or metro papers. Get in there now while it’s topical.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

10 replies on “The Age highlights transport”

yup, Ripponlea.

I’m sure the journos would be delighted to talk to Connex about the proper permits, but tragically there were no Connex staff present :-)

Actually, I was pretty impressed by Melbourne public transport when I was there. Compared to how it is where I am, things were far faster and cleaner than what I was used to. Plus, you have streetcars!!!! As the grandson of two employees of the old MSP streetcar system, I’m jealous.

In Melbourne, streetcars are called ‘trams’.

Trains & Trams are mostly ok, but there is plenty of overcrowding in peak hour (and on some lines off-peak), and many bus routes are hopeless. Many people are also put off PT by deros hanging around stations & the like, and the overall dirtyness of stations, most of which are unstaffed and can be quite unsafe & lonely at night. (For pics of stations to give an example, click on my name below for my fotopic site)

The time issue is really the critical one for those of us in the mid-suburbs, I think. (I made up that expression, because I can’t think what else to call a suburb that isn’t inner-city but isn’t outer-whoop-whoop either … the Zone 2 People, if you like).

In terms of service, we are not too badly served with bus routes – you can get most places you need to go on buses, even if it involves one change or more. But it just takes soooo long. There are times when this isn’t an issue – for example, I took the kids to Footscray on the bus a few weeks ago, and we made the bus trip part of the outing, the 2-year-old loved it. But it took an hour, where in the car it would’ve taken 20 minutes. For a leisurely shopping trip, not a problem; rushing to get to work, the doctors, playgroup? Not a possibility.

What isn’t shown on the picture of the front page of the Age, which I found telling of the newspapers commitment to the whole issue: An advertisement for some sort of car with the caption “Own this city”, right under the story. Hmmm….


Sadly, as history has shown us countless times, writing to one’s MP does precisely nothing. You may, or may not, have been receiving my emails, but unfortunately for you, I have found your blog (!), and will thus propagate my idea (good or bad as it may be) via this mechanism:

“It may interest you to learn that I am presently campaigning for a “Refuse To Pay Day” in Melbourne on Thursday December 1. You may, or possibly may not, wish to check the following links for edification:

Refuse To Pay Day – Campaign Notes & Manifesto
Refuse To Pay Day – FAQ

And a stupid story of my own experience with the network, template borrowed from ‘The Age’:

The Great Public Transport Challenge

I am interested in open and intelligent discussion on this matter. Will the campaign itself be effective, or even noticed by the majority of commuters? Naturally I hope this will be the case, but it is doubtful.

What I am attempting to do is draw “extreme” attention to the matter. The PTUA does some fine work and it’s always good to read a news story where the Association is approached for comment, because it raises awareness, and enhanced awareness sometimes equals action. And nothing enhances awareness more than a boot to the face, if you’ll pardon the crudeness of expression.

Is my own idea (well, it’s not even really my idea, as it was stolen from “Captain Commuter”, the Sydney woman who really shook things up in Novemember of last year) irresponsible and illogical? I don’t know. To me it makes perfect sense. We have to stop sitting there and taking it from these operators – we need to fight back.

Your feedback would of course be greatly appreciated.

I read the things in the Age. I think that it is timethat all bus routs that go to the city were at worst should be a 10 minute frequentsy. Bus routs should be a 5 minute frequentsy in the peek That is between 4 & 6:00pm.

Further to my little something that I’ve had to say on the subject of busses. At present, we’ve lost a bus stop on the 250 rout in Flinders street. I wouldn’t be saying anything about this accept for the fact that the stop that is in question is the stop that is at Degrave and Flinders street heading out bound towards Cliftenhill. There should be a standard protercol for putting in alternative stops when stops have to be moved due to repair works.

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