Tassie on the move

A plan to increase bus usage in Tasmania has been released by the Tasmanian Bus Association

October 28, 2013

The Tasmanian Bus Association has prepared a plan which identifies ways to address transport issues for an ageing and geographically diverse population.

Moving People Tasmania outlines a vision for the further development of the state’s transport system encompassing urban, outer urban, rural and regional bus services.

The percentage of residents older than 65 grew from 15 per cent in 2006 to 16.3 per cent in 2011, and this by 2032 this figure is expected to increase to 23 per cent of the total population.

The split between rural and urban population in 2001 was 53 per cent urban and 47 per cent rural.

TasBus General Manager Geoff Lewis says there has been a further dispersion of the Tasmanian population since, as most people live outside the major metropolitan centres.

"An ageing and expanding population will bring with it new challenges for Tasmania’s passenger transport network as the number of Tasmanians who do not hold a driver’s license grows and the number of Tasmanians who are no longer able to drive due to age-related factors increases."

Lewis says the company wants to double the share of passenger trips taken by bus in the state by 2020.

"According to Department of Environment figures, there are more than 295,000 cars in the state with approximately 80 per cent of all trips taken in a car," he says.

"Achieving this target will alleviate traffic congestion in major centres, reduce greenhouse gas and pollutant emissions, improve community mobility and access, build a more active population and help address social isolation."

A key plank of the TasBus solution is the creation of a central transport authority that would regulate and oversee the delivery of bus services across the state.

The organisation has also recommended an audit of existing transport services and the establishment of a consultative stakeholder group.

Lewis says a key concern of members is contract certainty, as the contract agreement between the State Government and operators expires in 2018.

"In our view incumbent operator should have first rights on option for renewal if they have met agreed performance criteria, creating greater incentives to perform and provide stronger investment certainty."

Lewis says the policy document provides some ideas about transport solutions for Tasmanians at relatively little cost.

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