Open Letter to Peter Batchelor
I am a concerned citizen. I am a big believer in public transport as a real sustainable alternative to the car for personal transport. So passionate is my commitment to sustainable transport that earlier this year I sold my car in order to pursue my ideal of a car free existence. I believe we all should have the choice, but I feel that there are serious insufficiencies in our public transport system that don't give everyone in Melbourne the choice to live a car free existence.
Firstly the choice wasn't overly difficult for me as I live in North Carlton which is serviced by no less than 3 tram lines, and a few different bus services, however, people living in outlying areas of the city and indeed even some living in certain areas not so far from the city, are left with extremely sub-standard services. Although this doesn't affect me getting to and from work, it certainly did delay my decision to go car free for a number of years as I have friends living in suburbs that are quite difficult to get to via public transport.
Something that does affect me directly, however, is the fact that the vast majority of public transport ceases not long after midnight. The night owl service is a very poor substitute for a real off-peak service plan, not to mention that it adds significantly to the cost of a night out on the town encouraging people to drive into the city rather than risk missing the last train home. This is also a concern from the point of view that a lot of people drink when going out late at night, and we should be trying to make our roads safer. Better late night transport would achieve this.
I feel that the state government has been concentrating far too much on improving roads for personal car use that the choice of the individual (if they realise they even have one) is so strongly weighted in favour of having to own a car and use that car for the vast majority of their journeys. It seems to me that your goal of 20% of journeys made by public transport by 2020 is in stark contradiction to your current policies of improving roads and extending highways.
I would be interested in your thoughts on how you plan to reach your goal, and encourage people to use more sustainable means of transport.
The above letter was sent to Peter Batchelor as an email, I will keep you posted with any response, til then if you want to express your concern to him(or at least one of his assistants), his email address is email@example.com