Tuesday, December 7, 2010

'Fix public transport. Make it frequent and free'

Wednesday December 8, 2010

MEDIA RELEASE - Paola Harvey, socialist candidate for Keira, has called for a massive funding boost to public transport in order to fix the system's chronic problems.

'We need to move away from car dependency and encourage more people to use public transport, but the NSW government is doing the opposite. In 2009-10 there were 2.3 million fewer passenger trips on the NSW rail network compared to 2008-09. Poor management and lack of investment over many years has pushed people out of the system. This is unacceptable for social and environmental reasons', she said.

'Complaints are also on the rise. People are sick of delays, overcrowding and bad communication. It's time to turn things around. Boosting funds to expand public transport will encourage people back and dramatically reduce carbon emissions as less people are forced to rely on private cars. Decent public transport is more equitable; it assists the economically disadvantaged and those looking for work.

'To encourage as many people as possible to make the switch from private car transport to public transport, a three-month trial of free public transport should be conducted across all urban, regional and rural areas. If the trial confirms a significant increase in public transport patronage, it should be made permanent. The usage of Wollongong's free CBD shuttle buses shows this is likely to happen.

'The savings made by society in lower air pollution, less road congestion etc would outweigh the costs of making public transport free. In addition to our health and the environment, common sense demands this approach be taken up', Harvey concluded.

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