Is This Such Bad News: As Congestion Increases Public Transport Usage Rises

Illustration: Ron Tandberg

Illustration: Ron Tandberg

Average morning peak travel times on CityLink have slowed to a sub-20km/h crawl over the Bolte Bridge, making it Melbourne’s equal-worst stretch of freeway.  Speeds on the toll road are as slow now each weekday morning as they are on the Eastern Freeway between Chandler Highway and Alexandra Parade…

VicRoads’ 2010-11 Traffic Monitor report showed the problem had improved slightly but the 2011-12 report, released on Friday, reveals traffic speeds have slowed again to 2009 levels…

Luke Donnellan, Labor’s shadow minister for roads, said the state government’s commitment to building the east-west link would leave no money for other transport projects.

”The Napthine government will spend more than $8 billion part-constructing the east-west link, leaving little to no money to spend on improving other major arterial or regional roads, let alone being able to fund public transport improvements, which are desperately needed,” Mr Donnellan said…

The report also showed that car occupancy rates are down almost 5 per cent in the past 10 years.

VicRoads’ David Shelton said motorists’ growing habit of solo driving was a serious cause of congestion. ”We have witnessed a drop in car occupancy rates during the morning peak … by 4.9 per cent since 2001-02,” Mr Shelton said. This was the ”real-world equivalent” of one person fewer for every 17 cars or 470 fewer an hour on a four-lane freeway.

But more people were switching to public transport and cycling.

”We have seen weekday bicycle counts increase by 33 per cent since 2006-07, an average of 6 per cent a year, which is a fantastic result,” Mr Shelton said.

”Bus patronage has increased by 16 per cent in the past year, while tram journeys are up 4.5 per cent.”

Bicycle Network Victoria’s Jason den Hollander said more people were cycling because it was an efficient transport mode.

”Bikes compete well for commuting in terms of time, parking and cost,” he said.

 Adam Carey, The Age, July 19, 2013

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