- Meeting in Bistro lounge, Great Southern Hotel. George St. opposite Rawson Place. 5.30 to about 7pm.
Seminars in transport at Macquarie Uni.
- All 2pm Wednesdays- Room C5A/301.
- "Traffic & Transport Management". (Harry Camkin)
- "Development of a roads program". (Deputy Chief, CRB)
- "Transport Integration".
All above are free. Enquiries- 88 9604.
- (Monday) Monthly meeting- 5.30pm- NSW environment centre, 399 Pitt St.- First floor.
- Symposium- "Transport Decision Making - Social, Political, or Economic?" - Inst. of Engineers Aust., Transportation Branch. Ph.438.1533. 118 Alfred St. Milsons Point. 4.30 to 7.30pm. Speakers will describe problems encountered by engineers in making decisions on transport matters.
- Bicycle Inst. of NSW tour to Minnamurra. (Andy, 660 4454)
Our submission to the Granville Inquiry was passed on to the PTC, and prompted them to invite us to a meeting to talk it over. Geoff Dawson and Kevin Eadie attended a meeting of five of the six commissioners. In discussing the submission we made a number of broader points, including the need for the PTC to be more attuned to consumer preferences (especially in its advertising policy), and the need for the PTC to become an active lobby in its own interests to match the smooth PR of bodies such as the DMR. (The PTC could, for example, have a much bigger voice than it does in discussion of the energy crisis.)
On the matter of Commission policy, which now often appears ambivalent or non-existent, Mr Reiher said that the Commission is now in the process of drawing up a broad policy and specific objectives. It will be made public when finalised. We went away feeling that there is yet hope. Our submission and the PTC's 11 page reply are available at meetings for members' perusal.
The recently publicised energy consciousness of the USA is all grist to our mill. The Ranger Uranium Inquiry brings the problem closer to home: it estimates Australian reserves of fossil fuels, on 1975 consumption levels, as - brown coal 444 years; black coal 400 years; natural gas 170 years; and oil 14 years.
In the face of such statistics it is amazing that the road-biassed imbalance of present transport policies can persist - and particularly amazing that supposedly responsible bodies continue to lobby so strongly for inner-urban expressway systems that may well be white elephants within a generation.
Transport uses 40% of all energy consumption and a greater proportion of all oil consumption: it is in the development of urban public transport and freight railways that the greatest potential for energy conservation lies.
Unfortunately press coverage of the energy question has hardly mentioned public transport at all - the two issues do not seem to be properly connected in the public mind. Our dependence on the motor car is emotional as well as economic: when things get tight it will no doubt be taken for granted that the car is the last to go. There is a risk that increasing oil prices will simply lead to an ever greater proportion of income being spent on maintaining our present extravagant transport habits, without proper consideration of the public transport alternatives. Our general standard of living will suffer unnecessarily as a result. The speed with which governments have embraced the principle of enormous expenditure on coal-oil conversion plants is particularly ominous.
NATIONAL ENERGY ADVISORY COMMITTEE
Set up by the Federal Government in Feb 77, it has admitted the relevance to Australia of President Carter's statements on energy resources. It has recommended "immediate consideration of smaller capacity motor vehicles, more effective use of public transport, and rail rather than road transport." Its report also recommends a lowering of speed limits on the open road. (Such a move would, at no cost, reduce the road toll and make public transport journey times more competitive.)
The proof of the pudding will be in the August Federal budget. Will public transport get an increased share of the transport purse? Will the newly formed Australian Railways Research and Development Organisation be adequately financed?
Following its suggestion, the PTC may conduct a survey of passengers on trains with permanent seat booking facilities with a view to modifying and perhaps abolishing the system. The CC is also considering the desirability of operating 2-car trains at night, and the provision of more bus shelters.
The Commuter Council's Rail Strategy Committee meets weekly at Central Station - at 8am. Our thanks to Double Jay and Channel 10 for their constructive items on public transport.
WOULDN'T WEAR IT
"Young males...regard the use of public transport as...tantamount to a wardrobe without jeans." (From a report to the South Australian Director of Transport, 1976)
FUTURE AIRPORT NEEDS
An Enquiry and Display Centre is now open at 59 Goulburn St Sydney (between George and Pitt). It was set up by a joint Commonwealth/State committee, which is making a conscious effort at PUBLIC PARTICIPATION. Hint hint.
We have challenged the State ministers on their decision to have the Commissioner for Main Roads make recommendations on whether to build Sydney's expressways. We suggest that the matter would receive less biassed treatment from the Planning and Environment Commission.
The first of the PTC's Mercedes buses went into service on 16th May. The Mercedes 0-305 engine/chassis has been in use in Europe since 1969 and won awards for design in the early 70's.
The Sydney built body has tinted windows, more vertical grab rails, and a bell cord running down the centre of the windows which is more accessible to seated passengers. The bus is very quiet. BUT -
Ventilation is liable to be unsatisfactory on hot wet days as windows and roof hatches will be closed to keep out rain, and the bus has no front grills as do existing vehicles. The spring operated catches which hold the windows shut are badly designed and require far too much force to release. The front platform has no space for luggage. The bell cords are naturally less convenient for standing passengers.
One of the most distressing features of bus travel in Sydney is poor ventilation for standing passengers in peak hour rain. There will be no fresh air for standees in the new bus.
Keep on trying...
I am becoming very concerned about the situation of the public transport campaign in New South Wales. While I do not wish to criticize the effort that a very small number of people are putting into it, I feel that their effort would be better expended if it were part of a co-ordinated and effective movement, which is not the case at present.
As things currently stand, the lack of involved people is forcing us to ignore some important issues completely. The Premier and the Minister, Mr. Cox, have rejected outright or ignored in substance our three most recent submissions to them.
These submissions requested:
Lately there has been hardly any trade union participation in Save Public Transport activities. People who are willing to be involved at all are usually concerned with some other issue, which they regard as a higher priority than the transport campaign. It has become unheard of for us all to work together to achieve something that one or two members put forward. Sometimes even the members who propose ideas are not willing to put any effort into realising them.
I appeal to all members to attend the general meeting on Monday 6th June (5.30pm, 399 Pitt St).
I intend to put the following proposal to that meeting: That Save Public Transport should invite a group of about a dozen people representing public transport groups, environmentalists, cyclists and transport unions to confer as soon as possible.
The object of the conference would be:
The new booklet about bikeways published by the Planning and Environment Commission is a rehash of existing design criteria for them and makes no suggestions about possible routes in Sydney. The Government has attempted to place responsibility for bikeways on local councils, who will of course have "no funds available." Bikeways must be introduced by the State Government on a properly planned Sydney-wide basis.
POLLUTION AND PROFIT
Federal Transport Minister Nixon has suggested relaxation of existing anti-pollution controls on cars because they "have caused a 5% deterioration in fuel efficiency". He is probably speaking for the car manufacturers, who are experiencing buyer resistance to higher car prices and "untinkerable" engines. He is supported by the road transport industry, which sees pollution controls as adding to its costs.