Melburnians ask for more investment in public transport

By: Chris Smith

Metlink research shows that almost 75 percent of people in Melbourne are actively trying to save money during the economic

Metlink research shows that almost 75 percent of people in Melbourne are actively trying to save money during the economic crisis and over a third of people are looking to use public transport more often as part of their budgeting strategies.

The results of Metlink’s most recent study were announced today by CEO Bernie Carolan at an International Association of Public Transport conference in Sydney.

"Melburnians are tightening their budgets and many more are looking at public transport as an option. This is likely to be one of the reasons why usage on Melbourne’s public transport network has continued to grow so strongly," Carolan says.

"Most significantly of all, the study tells us that 92 percent of Melburnians want governments to spend more on public transport infrastructure.

"People want governments to prioritise public transport improvements ahead of offering tax cuts (61 percent), reducing the price of petrol (60 percent) and building new roads (58 percent).

"It’s clear that public transport is important to Melburnians and they are resolute in their wish for government investment."

"This is consistent with the fact that the biggest share of Australia’s population live in capital cities. Despite the importance of the resources, tourism, agricultural and manufacturing sectors found in rural or remote areas, Australia’s largest cities are the economic engines of the future. Melbourne’s residents understand that being able to move around the city is key to Melbourne’s future success.

"We are confident that The Victorian Transport Plan will address many of the investment needs to allow better public transport in Melbourne, and we know that our customers want to see on-the-ground improvements as soon as possible."

Carolan also signalled optimism that the Federal Government and its advisory body Infrastructure Australia will heed Melbourne’s call for significant public transport investment.

"The Federal Government’s announcements of projects to be funded from the Building Australia Fund are expected within weeks following the recommendations of Infrastructure Australia, and a searching process with all State Governments," he says.

"I am very optimistic that the major rail projects highlighted in The Victorian Transport Plan, particularly the regional rail project to separate V/Line and metropolitan trains on the tracks in the north and west of Melbourne and the tunnel to commence the ‘metro’ style railway, will be among top priorities. These projects are vital to meet customer and community expectations and to contribute to Melbourne’s future economic growth."

The Metlink survey of 600 random patrons also shows that 20 percent of Melburnians had decreased their car use in the last six months, with half of these people doing so to save money.

Two-thirds of Melburnians view their reduction in car use as a permanent change.

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