Welcome to Future Transport Tasmania

We are here to lobby for better public transport and rail infrastructure in Tasmania. We aim to find solutions to allow all Tasmanians to have environmentally responsible and affordable commuting options to get around our state and towns. A more detailed mission statement can be found in the left column or <here>.

Find our articles below, starting with the most recent ones first:

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Media Release

METRO passengers lose again

Government makes acutely disappointing decision to increase fares

Community public transport group Future Transport Tasmania (FTT) today condemned the State Government’s decision to increase fares for Metro Tasmania.

FTT’s position on Metro bus fares continues to be that there should not be any fare increases, but that the State Government should instead be working on ways to increase patronage, not the cost of the tickets. The recently released Department of Infrastructure, Energy and Resources Draft Southern Integrated Transport Plan makes no significant suggestion of increasing bus services but simply hopes that increased patronage will occur. The Plan does include a strategy to ‘Encourage and support greater use of public passenger transport’, but does not actually mention any increase in bus services.

It appears the State Government has also failed to identify that reducing travel times and travel congestion, requires promotion and easy availability of alternative public transport options. Whilst a small amount of bike lanes have recently been created, for most people the only alternative form of transport is a bus, yet we have recently seen a reduction in total services on the Eastern shore.

Future Transport Tasmania Spokesperson, Toby Rowallan, said; ‘Once again public transport is losing out. The State Government wants to recover costs. We maintain that this should not be the primary concern. We need a plan to increase patronage, with increased services and much better promotion and advertising of the benefits of public transport, in particular the savings that people can make.’

‘Increasing fares is only going to discourage current users, but it will certainly not encourage new users. Therefore whilst they may well recover more of the costs, there is a significant possibility that with a decline in passenger numbers, Metro Tasmania will in real terms actually lose more money. We do note that there will be no increase in the cost of concession cards, and we fully support that, however this should be about getting more people on buses, and in that regard the Government’s policy is a failure.’

‘We are greatly concerned that the State Government’s priority appears to be revenue and not people. With no additional use of public transport there will inevitably be an increase in traffic congestion, with all the consequences that brings, including pollution in particular. If we had increased frequency and scope of bus services it would be the other way around,’ finished Mr Rowallan.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Media release

Keep rail in public hands

Agreement complete – rejuvenation of railways must begin now

Future Transport Tasmania today welcomed Infrastructure Minister Graeme Sturges announcement that a sale process had been agreed to between Pacific National Tasmania and the Tasmanian Government. The long running saga of Pacific National’s clear unwillingness to operate a train service in Tasmania is now finally at an end. Now the work of rejuvenating Tasmania’s railways begins. To that end, Future Transport Tasmania (FTT) is committed to campaign for Tasmania’s railways to remain in State Government hands for the long term.

FTT wants Tasmania’s railways to remain in public hands because only under State Government ownership is it possible for the railways to have a certain future. FTT will also be campaigning for passenger trains to return in one form or another, which would be much more difficult to achieve if a private operator was running trains.

FTT strongly believes that attempting to find a private company or consortium to operate trains in Tasmania will not ensure a secure future for the railways. Considerable investment, probably around one hundred million dollars, is required to bring Tasrail’s locomotive and rolling-stock fleet up to a competitive standard. FTT is convinced that no private company or consortium would be willing to invest the money needed to achieve this.

Future Transport Tasmania Spokesperson, Toby Rowallan said; ‘Throughout the rest of Australia, and in certain cases internationally, but most particularly here in Tasmania, we have seen that privatisation is fraught with danger. If the State and Federal Government’s fund the investment that is required, which we strongly believe they should, it would be a significant financial risk to then sell the trains back to a private operator. We are sure that after years of putting up with an inadequate railway system Tasmanians would not like to see their taxpayer’s dollars used to help out a private operator any more.’

‘The State Government must now find the money to buy PNT, and the money needed to buy new locomotives. Our suggestion is that the Brighton Hub and the Brighton Bypass could be delayed, and funding re-directed from those projects to fund the far more urgent renewal of our railways. Alternatively money redirected from the superannuation fund could be a possibility.’

‘We note recent concerns raised by the RACT regarding the deteriorating state of the Midland Highway and consequent maintenance requirements. It is clear that this deterioration is due to increased heavy vehicle use of the highway with the recent period of closure of the north-south railway line. Suggestions were made that a four-lane highway would alleviate this problem –we completely disagree. A four lane highway would increase already skyrocketing highway maintenance costs, not to mention be extremely expensive in the first place, and encourage further heavy vehicle use, instead of discourage it. We want to see a government committed to creating a competitive rail network, and restricting heavy vehicle use. They will then save on road maintenance costs, save lives and improve Tasmania’s overall economic efficiency.’ finished Mr Rowallan.

Media Release

Less cars equals more people

Future options become much easier without cars in North Hobart

Future Transport Tasmania strongly endorses Hobart City Council Alderman Helen Burnet’s motion to have a trial car-free zone in the North Hobart commercial district.
In February this year, world-renowned architect and urban planner Professor Jan Gehl visited Hobart and delivered a detailed seminar outlining the benefits of closing streets to cars and opening them up to pedestrians. Hobart’s own Salamanca Place is a perfect example of how much more popular a large area of open space can be when the cars are excluded. FTT is encouraged by these ideas and hopes to see more progress towards a people and public transport friendly city, rather than a car focussed city. The group wants Hobart to have more streets opened to pedestrians to ensure that people can enjoy these areas. Ald Burnet has suggested that the trial look at “leave the car at home options, consistent with the Council’s alternative transport strategies".

During the car-free zone trial FTT would like to see Metro introduce shuttle bus services from the city to get more people to North Hobart. At a time when the Government is considering increasing bus fares, FTT would prefer to see more bus services and more advertising, promoting their benefits, rather than discouraging people from using Metro buses.

Future Transport Tasmania Spokesperson, Toby Rowallan said; ‘Many cities around the world and also in Australia are working on creating larger areas of open public space. It is encouraging to see this concept being considered for Hobart. Every Saturday, Salamanca Place is a shining example of what can be done. Future Transport Tasmania is of the view that Salamanca Place would be better if it were permanently open to people only, certainly the section between Montpelier Retreat and the Silos.

‘Hobart City Council’s considerable effort to make the North Hobart shopping strip unique and enjoyable could be argued as the reason the area has become so popular. FTT believes that this trial proposed by Ald Burnet for February will connect people with this special part of our city.’

‘FTT will also promote the consideration of light rail along Elizabeth Street. If the trial is successful this would be by far the best means of getting large numbers of people from the City centre to North Hobart, and other areas.’

‘Well done to Ald Burnet for bringing this type of vision of wanting to encourage people into spaces to enjoy, not just drive through,’ finished Mr Rowallan.

Contacting Future Transport Tasmania

For further information:
Toby Rowallan (secretary) 0418 997 069

Mailing address:
Future Transport Tasmania
Bathurst St. Post Office
PO Box 4515
Hobart 7000