Home' Horizons : August-September 2010 Contents PHOTOGRAPHY: SANDRA JACKSON AND THOM PERRY.
THE DAILY COMMUTE IS A REALITY
FOR MOST OF US BUT WHICH METHOD
IS BEST? RUTH CALLAGHAN LOOKED
AT THE PROS AND CONS OF SOME
DIFFERENT FORMS OF TRANSPORT.
The car is warm and dry
and getting from A to B
is as simple as hopping
and pointing it in the right
rection. So why would you
ange your method of travel?
The answer may come to
u next time you are sitting
"Our roads are becoming
ore and more congested and
r some people it is becoming
ess practical to move about in
their car," RAC Head of Member
Advocacy Matt Brown said.
"People should have the right
to choose to drive but as the
roads become more congested,
as parking gets more scarce,
we need to find other ways for
people to get about the city and
hat might be public transport,
ycling or walking."
Many car trips are necessary.
You might have to pop to the
bank, grab the kids, and buy
some milk on the way home
from work. You might drive a ute
full of tools or travel too far to
even consider an alternative.
But surveys by TravelSmart
estimate about 40 per cent of car
trips don't really need the vehicle.
n fact, around half of all trips are
5km or less, the equivalent of a
20 minute bike ride.
And while there are tens of
thousands of single-occupant
cars making the stop-start drive
into the city every week, there
is evidence some people are
making the switch.
In 2000, just seven per cent of
Western Australians regularly
relied on the bus, train or ferry
to get to work, according to the
Australian Bureau of Statistics.
By 2009, this figure had risen
to 11 per cent while a further
3 per cent usually walked or
Local counts show bike riding
is surging, with between 10,000
and 13,000 cyclists riding into
the city every weekday during
summer and spring, according
to the Department of Transport
which monitors fixed cycle
counters on bike paths. Even
in the depths of winter, 7000
cyclists go past.
Bicycle traffic counts for 2010
already show a 10 per cent rise in
cyclist numbers compared to the
same time last year.
The Public Transport
Authority also reported a 20 per
cent rise in bus, train and ferry
use between 2007 and 2008,
helped by the new Mandurah rail
line, and this is set to climb again
this financial year.
As demand rises, though, it
meets capacity constraints.
Many train car parks fill early
in the day, prompting the State
Government to commit to
developing 3000 extra parking
spots on the Mandurah and
Longer trains are also being
added to the system and a new
contract for Perth's bus fleet will
soon be put out to tender, which
should increase the number of
passengers that can be carried.
Mr Brown said that if public
transport is to become a viable
alternative for motorists, there
needs to be immediate and
in the community that our
population is increasing at
such a rapid rate that our
already congested roads and
overstressed public transport
system are not keeping pace
with the demands," he said.
"What we are not seeing
from the Government is the
big picture plan to address this
"At the moment governments
generate a lot of revenue out
of motorists but we don't see
it being reinvested in the road
network," he said.
"For a State Government
to cut $120 million from the
Main Roads budget at the
very time demand on the
network is expected to surge
is extraordinarily short sighted.
It's a decision which will come
back to haunt our community in
In the meantime, there are small
but innovative actions being
taken across the metropolitan
area, often by private companies
and local governments.
Some councils, such as
Subiaco, are paying staff a bonus
if they take alternative transport,
while the City of Gosnells has a
pool of bikes that its staff can
use for local travel.
Perth Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi
said her council is also looking
at the issue, mindful of the
pressure cars put on the city.
"We have been very focused
in the city on integrating public
transport, pedestrian friendliness
and cycle paths," she said.
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