EDITORIAL: Rhetoric to action

By: Chris Smith

You would think these higher fuel prices would be taking more people off the road, but it isn’t. Too many

You would think these higher fuel prices would be taking more people off the road, but it isn’t. Too many people live too far from their workplaces and that is just a result of the great Australian dream of owning your own house.

The trend to private vehicles tied into suburban sprawl in the 50 years since the end of World War II. It has meant Australian cities have been transformed from fairly tight knit 'core-and-spoke' configurations, to sprawling suburban low-density configurations.

Could this trend be reversing with housing affordability at and all time low?

Part of successfully public transport systems is the need for high density living in order to sustain rapid transit systems.

Already people are seeing buying their own houses and land as a pipe-dream.

Rent is set to rise by 30 percent in the next two years and fuel prices are set to reach $2 litre for unleaded in months.

It will be a case of do I pay more for rent and live closer to the city and rely on public transport, or do I pay more for fuel and a car, and live further out?

Until public transport from outer suburbia is improved, it won’t be able to cope with any increased demand and their will be an outcry when taxpayers demand the services.

The governments’ challenge is to provide adequate public transport services for inner suburbia and outer suburbia that is dependable.

In encouraging news for the industry, the media hype surrounding the issue of skyrocketing fuel prices has drawn some very significant recognition of the relationship between fuel prices and increasing public transport patronage from none other than the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd.

In an interview with the Nine Network the PM called for "for some decent, decent public transport systems, invested in by the national government across our major cities so people don't burn their petrol prices on the way to work."

Now is not the time to rest on our laurels as an industry say the BIC, because we need to make sure our Federal Parliamentarians are aware of the dire need for better public transport systems as part of the solution to climate change, traffic congestion and rising fuel prices.

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