Feds should fix it - TOPS survey reveals

The quarterly transport perception survey is out today and state-based pessimism abounds, but more think the Federal Government has a role to play

Feds should fix it - TOPS survey reveals
Feds should fix it – TOPS survey reveals

By David Goeldner | September 22, 2010

There is growing support for the Federal Government to get involved in delivering public transport, according to data released today from the latest Transport Opinion Survey (TOPS).

The Federal support stems mainly from NSW where the state remains pessimistic that public transport won’t improve in coming years, says Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies Director Professor David Hensher.

"People are starting to think that if they are going to get improvement in public transport in NSW then we are going to have to rely on the Federal Government," he says.

"It doesn’t appear our state governments are offering anything more and it took the Federal Government to intervene to show some signs of possibilities."

The ITLS Transport Opinion Survey (TOPS) reveals a six percent rise in support of Federal Government intervention in public transport delivery.

Hensher believes this six percent rise stems from the pre-election promise of a Parramatta to Epping rail line influencing the result.

"I think the issue could be that there is not only a lack of confidence in the NSW Government but in the state’s opposition as well," he says.

"There’s still pessimism in NSW, but there is less pessimism than the last quarter."

Respondents were asked whether public transport outweighed other issues such as building roads as the highest priority.

Hensher says Victorians overwhelming voted public transport as their highest priority with 74 percent wanting the most attention paid to bus, train and tram, whereas it comes out as around 50 percent in other states.

"That’s where Victorians think the money should be going," he says.

"It could be that Victoria has a better road network so you can focus more on public transport needs."

Hensher says the latest September data also points to a large body of support for privately-run public transport, remaining consistent at 44 percent.

"About half say the private sector should be more involved in public transport, which is a very strong message," he says

"It’s the sort of thing that could be used by Government to say that the community does believe that the private sector has a positive role."

Hensher says this finding would give politicians ammunition to say the community supports engagement with the private sector to provide public transport.

He says the survey is likely to show over time the extent governments are being true to their promises.

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