Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Fix public transport, Brumby urged

ALMOST two thirds of Victorians are unhappy with the State Government's handling of public transport, and an equal number say new public transport should be given priority over roads.

As the Brumby Government prepares to release its multibillion-dollar transport plan next month, Victorians have sent a clear message of frustration to the Government over its handling of public transport.

A special Age/Nielsen poll found 61 per cent of people are dissatisfied with the Brumby Government on public transport — and only 27 per cent are satisfied.

And the poll, of 1009 Victorians taken between November 10 and 14, found 62 per cent want the Government to give public transport priority over roads, compared with 24 per cent who want roads to have priority.

In Melbourne, support for public transport was even stronger, with 68 per cent wanting more funding directed to it instead of roads; just 19 per cent support roads as the priority.

Despite this, support was strong for a proposed $9 billion road tunnel linking the western suburbs to the Eastern Freeway.

Fifty per cent of people supported construction of the road tunnel, compared to 45 per cent who want a proposed $7 billion rail tunnel built from Footscray to Caulfield via the CBD.

Just under half of all Melburnians surveyed about the rail tunnel said they had "no opinion" on the proposal, indicating it has failed to capture the public's imagination.

The RACV said it was no surprise the public was demanding better public transport.

"Public transport services are overcrowded and inadequate, and improvements are required to both the frequency of services, (and to) improved new routes," spokesman Brian Negus said.

Congestion on the road system was also at a "critical level", he said. "This impacts on the freight system, (and) has obvious effects on the economy and the operation of trams and buses."

The Public Transport Users Association said people were angry about the state of the public transport system. "Everyone, whether they shoe-horn themselves onto packed trains, trams and buses every day or not, knows the Government has dropped the ball on public transport," president Daniel Bowen said...

Read the entire article at TheAge.com.au

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