Auditor-General: Coordinating Public Transport (3.09.2014)

Written on the 3 September 2014


Ms CROZIER (Southern Metropolitan) -- I am pleased to speak this evening on the Victorian Auditor-General's report entitled Coordinating Public Transport, dated August 2014.

As we know, public transport gets a lot of attention in this place and affects many people's lives, both in Melbourne and in the regional parts of Victoria. This report highlights the many concerns that the Napthine coalition government is addressing. I turn to some of the comments that the Auditor-General made in relation to his findings in the report. The Auditor-General says in his opening comments that: 

Public Transport Victoria (PTV) was created in December 2011

  • it was a commitment of the coalition government for PTV to be established in order to have better coordinated services in our public transport system
  • with a particular focus on increasing the share of public transport trips, expanding the network and ensuring public transport services are properly coordinated.

As you read through the report it is fairly evident that PTV is doing that. He goes on to say:

    PTV's establishment, including its focus on improving coordination, is a key development that has begun to address this situation.

There have been some efficiency and simplicity issues in relation to the coordination of various public transport modes, and the findings of previous performance reports were that various public transport applications had been a siloed whether that is our train, tram, bus or coach services across the state. Clearly there were some issues, as the Auditor-General highlights. A number of performance audits have been undertaken over the past five years, and these are cited on page 5 of the report as follows:

  •  Over the past five years VAGO has tabled three audit reports that have considered the performance of public transport -- in June 2009, February 2012 and August 2013 --
  •  These reviews have consistently identified challenges in addressing demand for services and the need to improve performance ...

The report goes on:

  •  The 2009 audit Melbourne's New Bus Contracts found the operational performance regime for bus services needed to be strengthened to provide greater assurance about the on-time running of buses.
The report highlights a number of areas, including the planning and governance of coordination initiatives. The conclusion the Auditor-General comes to is that:
  •  Public transport has historically been managed as a collection of separate modes of travel rather than as an integrated system.
  •  This has resulted in inadequate coordination between modes, and long wait times between connecting train and bus services.

 

In the metropolitan bus service reviews of 2007 and 2010 deficiencies were identified, including that service frequency was poor and users needed to wait a long time between services. The service reliability is poor, with issues such as road congestion causing buses to operate unreliably, resulting in missed connections and users arriving late to the destination. Many improvements have been undertaken, which the Auditor-General acknowledges, and he cites some case studies including the ones at Williams Landing. The report states:

    Since 2012, it has implemented three major timetable changes, and has updated the timetables of more than 200 bus routes across Melbourne ...

The government has been working very closely to address these issues, fixing the problems left by Labor.

Since we came to government in 2010 we have introduced 1276 extra weekly metropolitan train trips, 1671 extra weekly tram trips and a whopping 7136 extra bus trips. We have added 10 000 extra weekly public transport trips, which has created many more options for people to travel across the city and across Victoria.

The formation of PTV results from an election promise, and it has done a tremendous job since its commencement.

It is working through the issues that were left to us. Clearly they have been going on for many years.

We have made great inroads, and I commend the Minister for Public Transport, Mr Mulder, for taking the initiatives he has and for improving so many more connections right across the rail, tram and bus networks, as well as the very important east-west link, which will relieve a lot of the congestion that was highlighted in the 2007 and 2010 reviews.


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