Monday, June 21, 2010

Expand Free Transit Zone - not free car parks

We need new public transport initiatives for sustainability and to revitalise our city (Fremantle)

The June 12 Herald newsclips briefly reported on council's decision to explore the possibility of making the whole city a Free Transit Zone. It's worth explaining the thinking behind this.

Everyone agrees that we need to revitalise the heart of Freo and make it a real hub of commercial, social and community life. However we are never going to be able to do this by offering the acres of free parking you find at Garden City. Instead we need to improve public transport and cycling facilities and services.

The problem with the FreoStar was that it was simply too infrequent to be a viable option for the majority of people in the areas it served. Council will never have the resources to be a serious stand alone public transport operator. This is the responsibility of the state government.

However what council can and should do is seek to build on and facilitate better Transperth services. Already we are identifying and prioritising light rail transit corridors in an effort to encourage the state government to commit to a really serious step up in public transport for our region.

The idea with the Free Transit Zone is that all residents in the city be issued with a Transperth 'SmartRider' card programmed to allow free travel within the city. You'd hope this would stimulate more bus travel and in turn the demand for Transperth to improve its services, particularly to our poorly served suburbs such as Samson.

Unlike subsidising services to only particular suburbs, a Free Transit Zone would be a more equitable way for council to spend the money. If for whatever reason this is not possible, new CAT services to suburbs not serviced by the existing routes might also be an option.

Sam Wainwright, Socialist councillor,

Friday, June 18, 2010

Empire strikes back -- kills free transport plan

'They'd clog up public transport'
June 18, 2010 - 6:47AM
A Liberal Party election promise for free round-the-clock public transport for seniors and the disabled has been shelved, with Premier Colin Barnett saying it would be environmentally unwise.

The government rolled out an off-peak scheme after being elected, which has seen about 7 million trips taken in the first year of operation.... WA Today

Monday, June 14, 2010

Free bus travel on Sundays

PASSENGERS can now travel free on Bendigo Transit buses on the first Sunday of each month throughout winter.

State Public Transport Minister Martin Pakula said the Car-less Sunday promotion allowed bus users to trial the network, something he hopes they will continue to use after the promotional period.

“Buses provide an essential transport service in Bendigo, providing crucial access to work, school, recreational facilities, healthcare services and retailers,’’ Mr Pakula said.

“There are some two million passenger trips on the Bendigo Transit network each year and we need to ensure we provide bus services that cater to passenger needs.’’

Car-less Sunday is a feature of the Bendigo City Centre TravelSmart Travel Plan, which aims to reduce the number of single-occupant car trips, increase the number of active travel trips and reinforce the city centre as a place to work, shop and visit Bendigo residents and visitors will receive free local bus travel on the first Sunday of the month until November, and on each Sunday in December.

Member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan said the government had continued to invest in the bus network with 692 weekly services added in the past two years.

”This was the biggest bus service improvement delivered to Bendigo in more than 15 years and is servicing the outer growth areas of Bendigo as well as existing suburbs and the central retail precinct,’’ the member for Bendigo East, Jacinta Allan, said.

“These improvements have resulted in an increase in patronage of 20 per cent, a clear endorsement of the Bendigo Transit system.’’ Mr Pakula said the growth in patronage of the Bendigo bus network would be monitored regularly.

“We’re constantly monitoring how well those services are running and seeing if they can be finetuned,’’ he said.

“That includes reassessing timetables and connections with trains and initiating discussions about service needs.’’

Bendigo Advertiser 14 June 2010

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The auto drains valuable resources - Frank Fisher

...our approaches to resolving Australia’s urban transport difficulties are piecemeal and that what limited success we have (notably in Perth) arose from the remarkable generalising influence of an outsider, environmental scientist, Prof. Peter Newman. So far however, the successes have not involved any large scale inroads into the use of the private urban commuter vehicle, or DODO, as Australia’s primary means for urban commuting let alone into the use of trucks instead of trains for goods transport. The DODO or Driver Only Driver Owned commuter car exercises its seductive hold over urban commutation through its very dedication to a single person. In the first instance it does it by privatising ownership to its (owner-)driver which secures and ensures his/her continuous access to it. The apparent freedoms provided by that dedication, by the widely accessible monetary resources to secure (owner-)dedication and by the equally widespread (if nowadays wilfull) ignorance to the planetary consequences of DODOs, are among the many difficult binds we must unpick in the effort to wean ourselves off default use of DODOs for all transport duties.

Currently the dedication to the DODO accounts for something like a third of all our energy use. In saying this i am including the energy costs of building, maintaining, monitoring and deconstructing the motor car and all its supporting infrastructures. These costs cover such diverse activities as a good proportion of hospital emergency activities, a significant proportion of government bureaucracies, one part of which will be the defence forces dedicated to maintaining oil supply lines and another being provision of foreign relations services to facilitate them. Were we to attempt to cover all the energy costs of the car and its supporting infrastructures, we would need to offset the energy demands of rectifying environment and human health damage inflicted by its many-faceted emissions only one of which is CO2! Other emissions from its operation are a variety of noxious gases, particulates, heat, vibration, noise … . Beyond its operational environmental costs are the pollution implications associated with driving its infrastructures, their construction and all their supporting infrastructures in turn. To make good these extensive and comprehensive environmental damages would likely take more energy than we currently use for everything. Taking implications such as these into consideration implies an operational efficiency in moving that Driver very close to zero. On top of this, governments desperate to reduce their fossil fuel dependency are now beginning to support fuelling this process from foodstuffs (corn, sugar, canola …) forcing up the price of foodstuffs. The use of foodstuffs to drive DODOs moves us way beyond the inefficiencies in using grain for feed lot beef because a far smaller proportion of the fuel provided to a car (<1%[ii]) actually goes to move its driver, than goes to “fuel” a grain fed steer’s production of meatIf grain-fed beef is a reprehensible use of grain, how much less acceptable are grain-fed DODOs?...
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Saturday, June 5, 2010

Frequent, Free, and Popular

It’s frequent and it’s free.
Since it began two years ago, more than two million passengers have been using the hugely popular Central Business District (CBD) Shuttle Bus to get them across town. Tourists, elderly people, shoppers, young people and office workers are taking advantage of the free ride.
The New South Wales (NSW) Government’s Free CBD Shuttle Bus has been so popular since it started its route in December 2008 that around 3,500 people a day have been riding the free public transport to travel in and around Sydney’s CBD. AustraliaForum