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:

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A story from Victoria

Craig writes;
I live in a small town in Western Victoria with a population of about 1500 people.
Around 17 years ago, the Kennett Government decided to cut our local rail service. Beaufort is on the Ararat line and both Beaufort and Ararat were stripped of passenger rail.
So a few years, the two towns went into decline. Ararat had a lot of empty shops and Beaufort saw population decline - both I believe a result from the decision to axe passenger rail.
In 2001, the new Labor Premier Steve Bracks came to Ararat and announced the line would be restored. It took two years and quite a bit of money, but it resulted in three reliable train services to Ballarat and Melbourne.
Both towns are now thriving, I believe in part because of the return of rail.
Rail has a bit of a psychological effect on people. When it's there, people feel connected with far off towns and cities and the outside world. It gives residents a feeling that where they live is a bit closer to the outside world.
If this can be done of a small rural area, why cannot either side of politics in Tasmania propose the return of some services.
You cannot tell me that a service between Launceston and Hobart would be unused. Even a link to towns in the north would, I believe attract, great patronage and we an added attraction for tourists.
I love Tasmania and would like to move there in my old age. I would however love to see a passenger train service, which for me would be an added incentive.
Goodluck with your campaign.
Craig.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Media Release

RAILWAY LINE MUST STAY

Northern Suburbs Railway not the only good reason
to keep rail access


A representative of the community-based public transport advocacy group, Future Transport Tasmania (FTT), today attended the first meeting of the Community Advisory Panel for the Light Rail Business Case project. FTT is grateful to the Minister for Sustainable Transport and Alternative Energy, Nick McKim, for inviting the group to be part of the panel. FTT strongly believes that the Northern Suburbs Railway should be progressed into a viable infrastructure project, so that the Hobart to Bridgewater railway line is retained and used effectively into the future.

FTT believes that even though the Brighton Freight Hub will reduce the need for freight trains to come into Hobart, rail freight access Hobart should be retained. It is possible in the future other industries such as Nyrstar at Risdon, may decide to switch to rail freight. The railway line also connects the Tasmanian Transport Museum, which possesses operational historic locomotives and rollingstock, to the State rail network. Even if the Northern Suburbs Railway project does not eventuate in the short term, FTT is adamant that the railway line into Hobart should not be pulled up.

Future Transport Tasmania spokesperson Toby Rowallan said: “We are looking forward to assisting the progression of this Business Case to help get this project off and running. We need to make sure that we have a viable and efficient service, that will attract users and increase options for the city and the Northern Suburbs. We also want to make sure that the railway line is retained and is used effectively. At the moment we have a corridor that is relatively under-used, and with the completion of the Brighton Freight hub due next year, will soon be even more under-utilised. With that comes the opportunity to create a new commuter rail service using the existing line. It will cost far less to do this than it would to construct a new line from scratch, as they are now doing on the Gold Coast, for example.”

“All around the world there are instances of new commuter and light rail lines being constructed. All around the world they are achieving record growths in patronage and interest. Everywhere they go they increase property value, and stimulate housing and commercial development. Here in Hobart we have a line which was used as a commuter rail service thirty-five years ago. We now have more people, more congestion and correspondingly more demand for alternative modes of transport. If its done properly, there’s no reason why we can’t have a highly successful commuter rail service in Hobart and to the Northern Suburbs. With the excellent work already done by Engineer Ben Johnston, we have a simple and commonsense project that is achievable. Today we start working on making it happen,” finished Mr Rowallan.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

State Election

We have not received a response from either the Liberal Party or the Tasmanian Greens.
However, it is worth noting that one of the Liberal Party's key policies is the construction of a four-lane Midland Highway.
The Tasmanian Greens, by contrast, have promised to;
Fund the Northern Suburbs Railway;
Fund a new mini-bus service;
Spend $32 million on new locomotives and rollingstock for the Tasmanian Railways.

Here is independent candidate Andrew Wilkie's response:

"I share Future Transport Tasmania's goals. Transport arrangements in the
State are not meeting the needs of the community nor sustainable over the
short term, let alone the mid- to long-term. A state-wide strategic
transport plan is urgently needed.

Bus services should be improved, especially on intra-suburban and regional
routes. Park and ride arrangements should be implemented wherever such an
arrangement is warranted, for example on the Kingston-Hobart link and
between the eastern and western shores of the River Derwent. Express bus
lanes should be introduced.

The rail system should be publicly owned. Rail freight services should be
enhanced and expanded state-wide. Passenger rail services should be
re-introduced, including in the northern suburbs of greater Hobart as well
as on inter-city routes.

Incentives should be introduced to get freight off the roads and onto rail,
for instance sensible caps should be imposed on vehicle size and weights.

Shipping arrangements to and fro the Bass Straight islands must be enhanced
and guaranteed.

And complementary initiatives, such as bicycle lanes, should be greatly
enhanced. And pedestrian zones, amenities and safety in our cites should be
greatly improved."

Best wishes,
Andrew Wilkie
Independent candidate for Denison
Telephone 0431 072 089
www.andrewwilkie.org

Monday, March 15, 2010

State Election questions -Labor's response

Here is the Labor Party's response to our questions.
For some reason they did not answer the first four questions, although they have been in part answered in later questions.
We have not yet received a response from any other party, but hope to receive the Greens' response tomorrow.

Election responses –Labor Party

1. What will you do to ensure rail freight services continue in Tasmania?
Not answered.

2. How would you improve public transport services across Tasmania?
Not answered, although partly answered by other responses.

3. Would you support introducing a passenger service on the northern suburbs railway?
Answered in the last question.

4. Do you believe the railway line into Hobart should be retained?
Answered in the last question.

5. Will you commit to increasing funding for Metro Tasmania and other public transport operators?
Passenger Transport is vitally important for connecting communities and the Bartlett Labor Government’s commitment of an additional $16 million over the next four years will enable Metro to work to increase patronage on buses. This funding will allow Metro to undertake a range of activities aimed at improving their services and increasing patronage.

Specifically, the funding will be used to conduct market research to better understand their users’ current and future needs. This will be followed by a promotional campaign. Staff will also receive customer service refresher training.

Metro will implement a journey planner, better designed customer information, and work towards timetable information that will be able to be downloaded to customer’s mobile phones.

Metro will trial real time information in the Elizabeth St bus mall, providing bus times and bus stop information.

The funding will also allow metro to upgrade off-buss infrastructure such as shelters and bus stops.

Metro plans to introduce high visibility buses to assist older people and the visually impaired, LED destination signs and will trial provision for bikes on buses.

They will trial Bus Service Officers to provide customer advice and to assist users to ensure they are travelling with the right ticket and concession. CCTV will continue to be rolled out so that all Metro buses are fitted with cameras.

Metro is currently investigating alternative energy for their bus fleet and are hoping to use biodiesel in their buses in the immediate future, and then trialling hybrid buses for use in the long-term. Park and ride is also on the agenda.
Further, Metro will investigate the rollout of the Greencard to other private bus operators around the State.

A re-elected Bartlett Labor Government will also provide $7 million in funding to improve passenger transport services for Tasmanians in urban fringe and rural areas.
This commitment will see new buses reaching out further and with greater frequency.
The new contract system requires operators to crate service development plans, working with their customers to determine community needs. Labor will provide seed funding to operators to trial additional services The trials will be for an initial 12 month period and their continuation will be dependent on patronage over that period.
Examples may include but are not restricted to: additional week day and weekend services, Devonport – Ulverstone, Dodges Ferry – Hobart, Geeveston, Huonville – Hobart, Campania, Richmond – Hobart.

Labor will work with bus operators and local councils to provide off bus infrastructure creating a better, more accessible, environment for bus patrons. Such as: bus shelters, bus stops, interchange facilities, car parking, internet trip planning – (one stop for all timetables) and initiating planning for integrated ticketing.


6. Will you support a high frequency park and ride bus service between Kingston and Hobart?
The Urban Passenger Transport Framework supports the development of a network of park and ride facilities, with work well underway on a Kingston park and ride site.

7. Would you support a similar service on the Eastern shore?
Labor is committed to investigating additional park and ride sites.

8. Will you support bus priority lanes on congested key arterial roads and intersections?
The Labor Government introduced a trial of the first bus priority lane in Tasmania on the Southern Outlet. Bus Priority will progress with Metro working with key stakeholders (DIER and local government) to implement bus priority for buses, taxis and cars with more than 3 occupants and bus pre-emption at traffic lights.

9. Will you support extensive additional bicycle lanes and paths in our cities and suburbs?
Labor is committed to working in partnership with local councils to facilitate extension of bicycle lanes and paths in cities and suburbs. To this end the Government previously committed $ 4 million on a $1 for $1 funding basis with local councils.

10. What will you do to increase pedestrian zones, amenities and safety in our cities?
The Government launched the Safer Travel Speeds in Shared Urban Spaces Funding Program in May 2008. The objective of the four year program is to aid Local Government to improve road safety. The focus of the program is on speed management and traffic calming measures in urban areas.

11. Given the disaster that private ownership of Tasrail was, will you commit to keeping the Tasmanian Railway in public hands?
The Rail Legislation that the Labor Government implemented last year contains a clause requiring both Houses of Parliament to approve any change in ownership.

12. If not, will you commit to retaining public ownership of the rail track network?
Public ownership of the rail network makes sense and puts it on the same footing as the road network.

13. What will you do to ensure a far greater share of freight is carried by rail, instead of road as it is currently?
The State Owned Tasmanian Railway Company is serious about a viable future for rail in Tasmania and is currently developing a strategic plan to ensure it has the capacity to grow its business.

14. Currently the maximum permissible Tasmanian heavy vehicle axle-load is 25
tonnes for a B-Double truck. Will you allow heavier and longer vehicles on the road than are currently?
A B-Double with tri-axle trailers is currently permitted to operate at a gross mass of 62.5 tonnes when travelling on an approved high productivity route network. That weight would increase by 0.5t to 63t if the prime mover has front underrun protection (FUPS), additional cabin strength and the new emission controls. The individual axle masses would be 6t (6.5 if FUPS etc) on the steer (front) axle, 16.5t on the tandem drive axle and 20t on each of the two tri-axle groups.

If the high productivity route network was also approved as a higher mass route then the gross mass would increase to 68t (68.5t if FUPS etc was on the prime mover). The individual axle masses would be 6t (6.5t if FUPS etc) on the steer (front) axle, 17t on the tandem drive axle, and 22.5t on each of the two tri-axle groups.
Whilst the Labor Government has not closed the door on the introduction of B-Triples in Tasmania, there are no plans for introduction in the foreseeable future.


15. Will you do to ensuring Flinders Island has a regular, dependable sea freight and passenger service?
Labor is committed to ensuring that Flinders and Cape Barren Islands have a long term sustainable shipping service that meets their needs. To this end, last year the Minister for Infrastructure instructed the Department of Infrastructure, Energy and Resources to arrange a review of shipping needs. The review, undertaken by consultants was completed in December and the Department is now working with the Flinders Island Council to determine the best model for the long term future. It is anticipated that the plan will be implemented within six months.

16. What other ideas do you have that could improve public transport and rail services in Tasmania?
The Tasmanian Passenger Transport Framework represents Labor’s vision for passenger transport in Tasmania’s urban areas. This Framework focuses on improved public transport, individual and family travel behaviour, promoting walking and cycling opportunities, development of park and ride facilities and closer integration with land use planning. This will be achieved in partnership with communities and stakeholders.

Transit corridors have been identified in the Urban Passenger Transport Framework. Labor will work with Local Councils on settlement strategies to encourage greater population densities around transit corridors.

Under the Framework, light rail is identified as a long-term option, once critical support measures have been implemented and the benefits realised – this includes, in particular, greater population densities around the rail and other transit corridors, and travel behaviour change towards public transport.

The Parsons Brinkoff Report identified the limitations of the existing rail corridor in delivering more widely accessible public transport services.
The Hobart Northern Suburbs Rail proposal suggests a low cost, low carbon option. A re-elected Bartlett Labor Government will commit to a comprehensive optimisation study on the existing rail corridor to determine the feasibility, real cost and benefits of such a proposal and critical actions that would be required to support future applications for Commonwealth Government funding.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Media Release

TASMANIAN STATE ELECTION 2010
Future Transport Tasmania’s questions for candidates

Community-based public transport advocacy group, Future Transport Tasmania (FTT), today released its questions for candidates in the Tasmanian State Election of 2010. The questions will be sent to all candidates for the State Election, and the group will publish the responses on its website before the election is held. FTT hopes that this will enable voters concerned about public transport policy and the future of the railway system, to have the answers they need, to help inform their voting decisions.

FTT believes that public transport services and rail infrastructure have been largely ignored during the State Election so far. Recently construction has begun on both the Brighton Bypass and the Kingston Bypass, for a total cost of over $200 million dollars. These developments will barely save more than ten minutes of travel time for commuters in peak hour, will guarantee further expensive highway maintenance costs, yet will not necessarily ensure smooth flowing traffic.

FTT believes that it is vitally important for the state’s future that future infrastructure takes into account the full range of net-cost benefit analysis. This should include climate change, peak oil and population growth, noting that as climate change effects increase, Tasmania will become an even more desirable place to live for potential immigrants from interstate and overseas.

Future Transport Tasmania spokesperson Toby Rowallan said: “We have a firm view that Tasmania’s public transport infrastructure and services should be significantly improved. Given that Metro Tasmania’s annual budget is approximately $40 million, when you compare that with the cost of the Kingston Bypass at around $42 million, its hard not to question whether this is really value for money.“

“Last year the Tasmanian Government took back ownership of the Tasmanian Railway system. Future Transport Tasmania wants to see the railways remain in public hands, and receive the investment that is needed to make sure the railways can take heavy trucks off our highways. This investment is urgently needed, but we are still waiting for the political commitment to it. If we look at the cost of the Brighton Bypass ($164 million), we have another questionable use of taxpayer’s funds that will incur further maintenance costs over the years. The railways would make far more effective use of that sort of money, shifting heavy freight to rail, providing a real impact on climate change and helping to make Tasmania immune from the fast approaching impact of peak oil.”

“We are convinced that in order for Tasmania’s economy to progress, its public transport services and the rail system must have priority over highways and roads. We don’t believe that relying on the road network to keep our economy connected is sustainable.”

“We await with interest responses from candidates, and hope that they regard this issue as seriously as we do.” finished Mr Rowallan.

(Questions are below)

Questions for candidates

STATE ELECTION March 2010
Can we improve Tasmania’s public transport and rail services?

For years Tasmania’s public transport and rail services have been among the most neglected of all public infrastructure. Funding for highways by comparison, has been massive, and continues to be. Despite this funding, the road toll in 2009 was horrific. Traffic congestion continued to increase. Is it possible to change this situation? Future Transport Tasmania believes that Tasmanians need alternatives to the private car. Currently only limited bus services exist, provided by Metro and other private companies.

In 2009 the Tasmanian Labor Government took back ownership of the State’s Railway system, after thirty-two years of Federal Government and then private ownership. For the first time since 1975 Tasmanians now own their railways again. What will be the future for the railways now? Will this be yet another episode in their long-drawn out deterioration, or the renaissance of a new era of fast, reliable and heavily-utilised freight services?

The reality of climate change, peak oil and future population growth means that Tasmania’s political leaders need to urgently consider new ways for Tasmanians and their goods to get around, modes that don’t rely on the private car or the highways.

Future Transport Tasmania, as a community-based non-political party affiliated group, seeks your views as a candidate seeking election to the Parliament of Tasmania in March 2010. We will be publishing these views on our website no later than the 12th of March.

Since launching in March last year, we have been advocating improved bus services, retention of rail and argued against more high-rise car parks in Hobart’s CBD. We have made a submission to Metro’s pricing review and released our plan for Tasmania’s railway future.

Questions

What will you do to ensure rail freight services continue in Tasmania?

How would you improve public transport services across Tasmania?

Would you support introducing a passenger service on the northern suburbs railway?

Do you believe the railway line into Hobart should be retained?

Will you commit to increasing funding for Metro Tasmania and other public transport operators?

Will you support a high frequency park and ride bus service between Kingston and Hobart?

Would you support a similar service on the Eastern shore?

Will you support bus priority lanes on congested key arterial roads and intersections?

Will you support extensive additional bicycle lanes and paths in our cities and suburbs?

What will you do to increase pedestrian zones, amenities and safety in our cities?

Given the disaster that private ownership of Tasrail was, will you commit to keeping the Tasmanian Railway in public hands?

If not, will you commit to retaining public ownership of the rail track network?

What will you do to ensure a far greater share of freight is carried by rail, instead of road as it is currently?

Currently the maximum permissible Tasmanian heavy vehicle axle-load is 25 tonnes for a B-Double truck. Will you allow heavier and longer vehicles on the road than are currently?

Will you do to ensuring Flinders Island has a regular, dependable sea freight and passenger service?

What other ideas do you have that could improve public transport and rail services in Tasmania?

Media Release

(This was sent out on Sep 14th 2009)
BYPASSING COMMON SENSE

Kingston bypass: $42 million to save five minutes

Members of Future Transport Tasmania (FTT) were present yesterday at the inaugural meeting of the Sustainable Transport Advocacy Coalition in Tasmania (STACTAS) to discuss the Kingston bypass about to be approved by the Kingborough Council (KC). The bypass is primarily designed to remove the congestion currently experienced in morning and evening peak hour traffic at the roundabout at Channel Highway and Summerleas Road. FTT is confidently predicting that not too long after the bypass is completed, new traffic bottlenecks will be created, and people will be wondering just why the bypass has failed. The KC has not yet completed developing the Kingborough Integrated Transport Strategy (KITS), yet the KC is prepared to approve a project which has not been weighed up against the options, because the options have not been presented or examined.

FTT noted that as the KC has not yet completed its transport study, it seems absurd that $42 million is being spent before alternative options are studied

FTT believes that a properly implemented park-and-ride scheme would have much greater long-term benefits. Such a service, involving free car parking and high frequency bus services during peak travel hours, would need to be well promoted and advertised, but the potential savings for commuters have not been adequately explored or investigated.

Future Transport Tasmania spokesperson Ben Peelman said: “This is a totally unsustainable development, that in the long term will have little noticeable effect on traffic levels. We are talking about spending $42 million to save what is usually a five or ten minute delay. Furthermore, it will only decrease congestion for those travelling from the city into Kingston. Traffic congestion at the Hobart end of the Southern Outlet is in fact more likely to increase. “

“In February Professor Jan Gehl gave a public lecture at the University Of Tasmania, where he said that experience had shown that the more roads you build, the more cars you get. The same will soon prove to be true here. At the same time, we know that of the three main arterial routes into the city, it is the Brooker Highway that is in fact the most congested, not Kingston. So it is strange that Kingston gets a bypass, but nothing has been done or even suggested for the Northern suburbs or the Eastern shore. Nor does the bypass help the young or the elderly residents of Kingborough, who will see little benefit from the new road.”

“The world is now in the grips of climate change and peak oil, whether we like to admit it or not. Building more roads will not make either of them any easier to deal with. The solutions are to create alternative transport options to ensure we are not reliant solely on our cars to get from place to place. At the moment those options are totally insufficient, and addressing that is where we believe government money should be directed,” finished Mr Peelman.

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