So how am I voting tomorrow? No comment.
But I will tell you what I know about the policies on my pet topic:
The Greens, as you might expect, have the best, most comprehensive public transport policy (though it’s not flawless by any means). Of course, we all know they are unlikely to be forming a government next week… though there’s a slim chance they might hold the balance of power, and therefore have a strong influence on policy.
The Libs’ public transport policy is stronger than the ALP’s, by a country mile. Feasibility studies (though not actual construction money just yet) for rail lines to Doncaster, Rowville, Melbourne Airport and Avalon Airport (the latter being a questionable priority), funding for new trains, Southland station, and perhaps most importantly, an independent Public Transport Development Authority to better plan, manage and co-ordinate the whole network. Its independence would allow it to advocate for and implement change at arms length from the politicians.
If the Libs’ policy has a major failing, it’s thinking that putting armed guards onto stations is the best solution to grow patronage at night. Security is an issue, but that’s putting all your eggs in one basket (and is a disproportionate response at most locations), when the biggest problems are a lack of services — making people wait way longer than they’d rather at stations and tram/bus stops. And the Libs are not shying away from the kind of massive road projects that will cut through neighbourhoods, swallowing billions of dollars for little tangible benefit to traffic congestion.
Both the major parties have largely ignored trams and buses. Perhaps this is not surprising, given the profile the train system has in comparison, but it’s short-sighted. Some suburbs of Melbourne will never have trains. It’s therefore critical that tram lines be extended where appropriate, and for other areas, Smartbuses (with the evening and weekend frequencies, and traffic priority all fixed) be implemented.
The ALP’s policy, by the way, isn’t devoid of content. Southland station, more trains to Geelong, lots more station staff, and a (bus, not rail) fix for the very embarrassing Huntingdale/Monash University bus overcrowding problem.
But it’s the Libs’ Public Transport Development Authority that really puts them ahead in this game. If it is implemented properly, with smart cookies on staff and the right powers, it would identify all the shortcomings of the network, seek the funding, then have the ability to fix them, much like VicRoads advocates for the roads it believes should be built.
Of course I don’t expect everybody to consider PT the one thing above all else that determines their vote. But it is clear that this time around, it’s up there as a key issue.
Happy voting. And hope you find a good sausage sizzle!
- PTUA Election Scorecard: Greens A, Labor C, Liberal/National B
- Herald Sun today: Main parties lead commuters up a dead end