I will make some comments on the Auditor-General’s report on coordinating public transport which was tabled in Parliament in August.
I begin by saying that this report points to the ineffectiveness of Victoria’s public transport network and the sluggishness of progress to improve public transport services and
connectivity by the Napthine government.
The report found that public transport services are poorly coordinated, and since the establishment of Public Transport Victoria (PTV), work to improve the network has been slow. To put things simply, Public Transport Victoria’s draft coordination framework is not yet finished and more information is required on its plans for regional services and how they can be better coordinated.
This has left Victoria with a public transport system that does not make sense, making it
very difficult for people to make travel plans and coordinate trips.
Market research undertaken by PTV in 2011 shows that long wait times between bus and train services make users less likely to want to make multimodular trips.
Despite this knowledge, three years on little has been done to improve the system. Regional growth plans have shown the need to better link public transport services and a better offering of accessibility to regional areas.
In spite of this there are no details or set targets that would allow for the monitoring of how the planned action would lead to better coordination of the transport network.
The coordination of public transport remains inadequate with little progress having been made to improve the system under the Napthine government. The coordination of Victoria’s public transport network is essential to satisfy the needs of its users and to encourage its use to prospective passengers.
Good connection between the different modes of public transport
is needed to ensure harmony on the transport system. Bus services should be
timed to match train services to make it faster and easier to get people where
they need to go.
Precise state-wide coordination objectives and provisions are essential to monitor the results of coordination efforts. There need to be proper measures in place to ensure that the services being offered are doing what they were set out to achieve.
The report states that PTV’s current indicator of bus-train connectivity across the network is ‘limited and inaccurate’.
It would seem that despite efforts to coordinate the public transport network, there cannot even be accurate measurement to determine whether these efforts are actually paying off.
In relation to barriers, there are also many basic problems with the transport network that the Napthine government has failed to address, even though this was one of the government’s most specific promises made on public transport.
Bus services are not properly connected with trains due to limited hours. Public transport interchanges are poorly designed and are not suited to the needs of passengers travelling on the network.
Even the signage at many stations has been found to be confusing and unhelpful. You would think that if anything would be done right, it would be having signs that point passengers in the right direction. All of these problems should have already been
addressed, but the ongoing delays in beginning to implement the full draft coordination framework have left efforts at a standstill.
For most of regional Victoria, bus services are the only public transport option available. Despite this, many bus services in regional Victoria have been found to have very indirect routes.
Having more direct bus routes would cut travel and wait times for passengers across regional Victoria.
Under this government better coordination of the public transport system has been promised, but we are yet to see proper plans. These need to be put in place so that Victorians have a service that meets their needs. Further work is required to improve the coordination of the network generally.
Progress to improve the connectivity of the public transport system has been incredibly slow, and delays are leaving users of the public transport system suffering unnecessary wait times and confusion.
This has also been reported by the On Track survey, which has demonstrated that only 6 per cent of customers on the Geelong-Melbourne line have been satisfied with the V/Line