Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Expert urges boost to public transport

The federal government must invest at least $10 billion to untangle public transport systems in Australia's major cities, an industry expert says.

The chair of public transport studies at Melbourne's Monash University, Professor Graham Currie, said rising fuel prices and housing costs and increased traffic congestion had forced more people to use already stretched public transport services.

"We are calling for at least $10 billion to come from the federal government to help fix public transport in our major capitals and regional centres," he said in a statement.

"We need the federal government to step in and provide Australians with alternatives to the car.

"We have public transport systems at breaking point. State governments can only do so much to meet demand."

Australia was one of only a few Western nations in which the national government had no role in providing public transport, he said.

People in outer metropolitan and regional areas were hurting most because they were most reliant on cars, he said.

Professor Currie's comments came as public transport experts, including academics, industry leaders and government representatives, met in Melbourne on Monday to discuss improvements to Australia's public transport.

Food and fuel price rises and other factors such as inflation had led to a three per cent spike in public transport patronage across Australia, Professor Currie said.

But patronage had increased much more markedly in Sydney, Perth and Melbourne.

Read the original article at http://news.theage.com.au/national/expert-urges-boost-to-public-transport-20080707-342r.html

No comments: