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:

Monday, February 22, 2010

Media Release

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

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.


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)

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