Friday, 5 June 2015

There is something wrong

with our public transport system. No, wait. There is a lot wrong with our public transport system. And now things are being made rather worse - by selfishness. 
The city has something called an O-bahn - a "guided busway". It starts about two kilometres out of the CBD and goes out to the northern suburbs. 
I used it several times when an elderly friend lived on that side of the city. It's fast. Yes, note that. It is fast. Once you reach the guided section of the busway there are just two interchange stops before you reach the northern interchange at a very large shopping centre. 
But apparently it is not fast enough. The government wants to spend an enormous sum of money bringing the guided section into the city centre. This will cut the journey time - by three and a half minutes. It also means digging up an area of the parkland surrounding the city which is frequently used for events. The parkland would be lost.
Now the parkland surrounding the city was deliberately designed to be there. It is supposed to be immune from that sort of development. It is not supposed to have permanent structures of any size built on it. The government has been forced to use "temporary" stands for an annual city car race. The time taken to put them up and take them down makes them almost permanent - and the cost is ridiculous. Eventually however the car race will, as it should, be consigned to history.  Hopefully that will happen sooner rather than later.
The guided busway lane is another story. It is unlikely to be consigned to history any time soon. The parkland will be lost - and lost forever.
Do people really mind that extra three and a half minutes? Do they believe it is more important than parkland? The government is telling us that this three and a half minutes is very important.
They tried telling us the same thing about the two minutes they used as an excuse to close stations along our local railway line. Since then they have had to reopen one at considerable cost. (They had to rebuild the platform.) Trains on our local line are consistently late by more than six minutes but it has nothing to do with the stations which were closed and the one which was reopened. It was the "single track working" which did the damage. They knew it was going to happen and closed the stations rather than admit it. People still use the train - but they do get annoyed by the delays which could have been prevented if they had, as they were advised, built a third passing loop.
The money they want to spend on the O-bahn extension would be better spent on a third passing loop and reopening the stations. It would save the parkland. More people would use the train. It would ease congestion on other roads and, eventually, allow money to be used to extend the O-bahn at the other end instead. That's where people want it. 
So, why does the government want to dig up the parkland?


Judy Edmonds said...

We in Melbourne are 'looking forward' to a major road in our CBD to be dug up for years while a new underground tunnel is built. The new tunnel will expand railway options, but it is dramatically smaller than the one being built in London, which is being done with minimal disruption. This will literally cut the CBD in half for years.

catdownunder said...

It would probably be done in a quarter of the time in China. Glad I am not living in Melbourne now.