Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Climate Change: cut public transport fares

The Queensland government has reduced public transport prices.

Why? To reduce traffic congestion.

Again, a confluence of factors points to a single answer. The initiative makes the Qld government look particularly good, for seeming to address the additional issues of climate change and rising fuel prices.

The obvious answer is to draw people towards public transport.

Unless, like the New South Wales government, you've been sitting on your hands for a decade rather than invest in public transport infrastructure. Result: congestion on public transport, no extra capacity at peak, leading to the temptation to raise fares at just the wrong time.

There has been some investment in new rail links in Sydney in recent times. Pity it's not enough to anticipate and cope with increased patronage.

Perhaps it's a feature of an overly short election cycle? Right now is the ideal time to plan infrastructure that, more than increasing capacity, actually shifts burdens from road to rail and bus. All signs point in the same direction.

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