Council not serious about public transport says analyst

Brisbane still beats Sydney on car use with public transport lagging as a prefered 'journey to work' mode

Council not serious about public transport says analyst
Council not serious about public transport says analyst
By David Goeldner | July 15, 2010

A recent ‘journey to work’ statistical report supports Brisbane’s big spend on tunnels, bridges and major road upgrades – at the expense of public transport.

Public Transport Analyst Tristan Peach says transport mode share predictions based on historical data form the basis of public transport and road infrastructure planning.

He says based on trends over the past few years, public transport share will increase, but not by much and not due to any concerted effort by government – state or local – to encourage its use.

Even with Sydney’s perceived transport woes, Peach’s report says Sydneysiders are still more likely to use public transport than Brisbane residents.

In a study of mode share patterns, Peach reveals that about 5 percent of commuters travelled by bus to work in Brisbane and Sydney.

Train travel was still preferred in NSW with 12 percent choosing rail in Sydney, and just 5 percent in Brisbane.

This level of usage is still a long way behind jumping in your car and driving to work, and Brisbane residents do that more often than their Sydney counterparts, the report says.

About 64 percent of Brisbane commuters use their car each day, while 59 percent of Sydneysiders drive to work.

And if you live in the inner-Brisbane suburb of New Farm, you are just as likely to walk to work as catch the bus, even though 42 percent of workers in that postcode area still prefer their cars.

Remarking on how the Brisbane City Council and the Queensland Government have engaged in an ongoing ‘war of words’ over Brisbane’s public transport funding, Peach says big spending on road infrastructure suggests neither are serious about getting commuters out of their cars and on to a bus.

Peach says there has been a desire by BCC to move public transport responsibility to the Queensland Government to allow the city to allocate more resources on road infrastructure.

"Overall I think the Council has a low level of commitment to public transport." he says.

"But I don’t think that shifting responsibility entirely to the state government will change the priority of public transport in the city’s budget."

Referring to Brisbane City Council’s 2008 – 2026 Transport Plan, Peach says public transport trips will rise from 8 percent in 2004 to 13 percent by 2026, but Brisbane’s Northern Link tunnel project data says this will be 11 percent by 2026.

Peach says he has no idea how BCC made the calculation of 13 percent.

"But, given the currents trends in public transport usage and the future challenges of rising oil prices it seems that the 13 percent mode share target could be reached by 2026 without really having to do much at all.

"It is basically a prediction rather than a target."

He says the environmental impact statement for Brisbane’s Northern Link tunnel only makes reference to public transport usage forecasts, rather than targets for public transport usage.

Peach says this creates better numbers for road projects but also shows Brisbane City Council isn’t really serious about taking cars off the road by shifting to improved public transport.

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