Tonight’s PTUA Annual General Meeting means today is my last day as President.
I’ll miss a lot of it, particularly dealing with the media, and meeting/discussing/debating with industry and political players (the former in particular often providing information that should be out in public, but isn’t.
(Over the years, I suspect, the media has been increasingly sympathetic as more and more journos, many of whom work in the CBD, have switched to using PT themselves.)
And I’ll definitely miss being able to help shape the debate – I’m thinking of the push towards frequent and better connected services, both ideas which are now generally agreed upon as needing fixing.
Without wishing to offend the good people in radio media, I can’t say I’ll miss the early morning radio calls, nor trying to juggle multiple things at once to do a live chat with Faine or Mitchell on the way to work (though I gotta say, live radio is a buzz — great for keeping you alert).
And while I’m always happy for a chat with people, those who just intently stare at me on the street… yeah, I won’t miss that so much.
What’s been fascinating is the shift away from the attitude that PT is only for the minority who can’t drive, plus CBD workers. It’s part of Melbourne’s transition to a big city, but organisations like PTUA have helped keep reminding governments that investment in better services has to keep up.
It will be critical for the new team to stay on message — to keep using the sort of language which the average punter sitting at home reading the paper or watching the news finds themselves agreeing with — whether they use PT or not themselves.
Thanks to those who got in touch (by whatever medium) when it was announced I was stepping down.
There were a lot of very nice tweets. If you’ll indulge me and let me stroke my own ego for a moment, here are some of my faves:
Congrats to Daniel Bowen on a decade of great advocacy for PT: http://www.theage.com.au/…
— @VeoliaTrans – 12:03 PM – 17 Sep 12
— that’s Veolia TransDev, a merger of former operators of Melbourne’s Connex and Yarra Trams (1999-2009)
After nearly 10 years, @ptua president Daniel Bowen will stand down as head of the commuter group. More in @mxmelbourne. @danielbowen
— @mxmelbourne – 2:44 PM – 17 Sep 12
— for those not on the eastern seaboard, MX is the free afternoon commuter newspaper. Some deride their emphasis on showbiz news, but they do have a mix of wire stories and their small team of actual local reporters are good guys. PT passengers are their core demographic, and they’ve run many PTUA stories over the years.
Congratulations to @danielbowen. Stepping down after (almost) ten years as voice of the commuter. Many could learn from his approachability!
— @gboreham – 1:19 PM – 17 Sep 12
— Gareth Boreham is the former state political reporter for channel 10, including during the height of the trains crisis. Gareth’s comment on approachability is an important one for volunteer activist groups to remember. Mainstream media works to deadlines. For maximum effectiveness you need to understand and work within those deadlines, and foster good working relationships with the journos.
In the past couple of weeks before officially finishing up, I’ve managed to push out the door a couple of things that have been in the pipeline on and off for months, which I hope will be of interest:
An update to the study of 15 minute services, showing how few (buses in particular) meet the standard, and the huge gaps in Melbourne with no frequent PT, even in peak hour.
A new set of maps showing how the City Loop works, to try and highlight the silliness of so many confusing patterns.
Those of you who are PTUA members, hope to see you at the AGM tonight, and good luck to the incoming PTUA executive and committee team.