The Victorian Government calls this the contractual framework for public transport in Victoria. We call it a recipe for buck-passing.




This tangle of bureaucracy means that public transport in Victoria doesn't work as well as it could and should. On top of obvious problems with over-crowding and poor reliability, less obvious examples include:

Poor co-ordination

  • trains and buses run at different frequencies and aren't timed to connect at stations leaving long waits for people wanting to transfer from train to bus (and leading to over-crowded station car parks)2;
  • many tram routes terminate "in the middle of nowhere" rather than extending a few hundred metres to connect with railway stations;
  • trains, trams and different bus companies have varying holiday timetables with varying start and end dates;
  • even where the routes are similar, bus stops for services run by different companies can be located around the corner from each other so that passengers miss the next suitable bus if they wait at the other stop6;

Poor planning

  • numerous trains were sold for scrap between 2002 and 2005, just as peak hour overcrowding started to become commonplace on Melbourne's trains4;
  • trains speed past Southland shopping centre - a major trip destination - without stopping since the government hasn't provided a station;
  • residents find out from the media, instead of the transport department, that their homes are to be compulsorily acquired to make way for new rail lines7;

Buck passing

  • Metlink and Department of Transport staff disagree on who is responsible for co-ordinating tram, train and bus services1;
  • local residents get passed back and forth between local councils, train operators and other agencies when they have questions or complaints about rubbish, graffiti or lighting along railway lines3;
  • when calling Metlink to inquire about bus service alterations, passengers can be told to call the bus company instead, only to get an answering machine when they do so5.

Do you have an example of your own? Tell us your experience.

It's time to end the buck-passing and set up a single Public Transport Authority to make public transport work.


Footnotes:

  1. Lucas, C., 2010, 'No one running public transport co-ordination', The Age, 29 September, p.3
  2. PTUA, 2010, Poor connections leave passengers waiting, Media release, 9 May, Public Transport Users Association
  3. Cannon, A., 2010, 'Rubbish left in Footscray leaves city seeing red', Maribyrnong Leader, 23 March;
    'Railway reserve a hazard', Bayside Leader, 20 November 2007
  4. Lucas, C., 2008, 'Fare's not fair, state tells used train salesman', The Age, 15 June
  5. PTUA, 2006, Choosing the Right Options, Public Transport Users Association, p.37
  6. PTUA, 2010, Huntingdale chaos brings renewed call for Monash/Rowville rail, Media release, 18 April, Public Transport Users Association
  7. Lucas, C., 2010, 'Residents not told their homes will go', The Age, 13 July