I pay $73 per year to the RACV because I want someone to get me out of a scrape when I’ve locked myself out of my car or the battery is dead or whatever. It somewhat disturbs me that what’s left over from that $73 goes into lobbying for more, bigger, faster roads.
I saw this in action on Tuesday at a discussion at Treasury Place. The same day the RACV were seen on the TV news calling for the expansion of roads at the end of the Eastern Freeway, and “missing link” ring road sector through Melbourne’s northeast “green wedge” — or else Melbourne would grind to a standstill.
I don’t believe that for an instant. Melbourne would survive, and could thrive if no more freeways were built, and the money was put into public transport instead. In fact, just the $1 billion currently being spent to add two extra lanes to the Monash Freeway would pay for at least two major rail lines to be built.
And while the RACV continues to claim that more road building helps traffic, what it really does, apart from burning billions of dollars in transport funding, is provide more road space that gets more people driving, undermining cycling, walking and public transport, and leading to further traffic congestion and pollution.
I don’t want my money going to lobbying. But it turns out there are alternatives for getting roadside assistance, which don’t involve the RACV.
I found one (outdated) list of options, but of these, some are affiliated with RACV: Assist Australia, Caltex. ANZ at one stage had Auto Assist, but it’s not clear if that’s still on offer, nor who they outsource(d) to.
Hard to know how good they are when you’re in a spot, but it looks like 24/7 Road Services might be one to try. Base-level coverage for $55, so it’s actually cheaper than RACV. I’ll make sure they’re not involved in lobbying, and I’ll going to sign up with them when my RACV membership expires.
And if you’re another one of the RACV’s 1.9 million members, and are only in it for the road service, and don’t want your money to pay for lobbying for paving the planet, I’d encourage you too to move your business elsewhere.