Provision of adequate public transport to services to all communities is a social and environmental imperative. Private road transport is a major contributor to carbon pollution, while lack of access to public transport places a huge burden on poorer communities in particular.
Our current transport system is too heavily weighted to cars, the most expensive and least sustainable mode of transport.
Dependence on cars is encouraged by governments serving the interests of the oil cartels and auto manufacturing monopolies.
Passenger transport in urban centres has been run down and the failure to maintain adequate publicly owned and operated transport has led to urban congestion and a massive waste of resources on road construction and turning urban centers into concrete jungles.
Because of the poor provision of public transport in outer-urban areas of Australia’s major cities, residents have been forced to rely more heavily on private cars than more affluent, inner-city residents.
The provision of new public transport infrastructure, more frequent and more reliable public transport services that are publicly owned and operated, and new services to outer suburbs, would result in thousands fewer cars on the roads, and would also generate many jobs in areas of need.
As the commuting public is well aware, in those states where public transport has been privatised, services that do not turn a substantial profit are cut, maintenance declines, corners are cut and fares increase.
Public transport provides more jobs for the same outlay than the private sector. As a service provider it can be more reliable, more efficient and cheaper because the layers of profit-gouging are absent.
The environmental costs of private car transport, including greenhouse gas emissions, and air, noise and water pollution, are estimated to total over $2 billion a year. All this cost is born by the community. But the cost to people’s health, the loss of life and destruction of our planet cannot be measured.
Two-thirds of domestic freight in Australia is hauled by road and 26 per cent by rail. Road transport accounts for 80% of freight movements when the distance travelled is less than 100 kms. Road transport accounts for 86% of Sydney’s freight movements and this is increasing.
The carriage of goods by rail uses one third of the fuel per tonne and has more than three times the environmental efficiency of road haulage. Increasing rail freight capacity can alleviate road congestion, reduce the loss of life on roads, cut land wasted and resources consumed by new roads and toll ways as well as reduce air and water pollution.
Transport is Australia’s third largest source of carbon pollution contributing 14 per cent of total emissions. Greenhouse gas emissions from road freight haulage are projected to rise by at least 27 per cent in the next 10 years. It is the fastest growing sector and accounts for about 34 per cent of household greenhouse gas emissions. Even with the implementation of abatement measures these emissions are projected to be 67% higher in 2020 than 1990 levels.
A people before profit transport system will give priority to a sustainable and livable environment with an environmentally friendly mass public transport at its core.
The CPA supports the following policies:
- Re-nationalising all privatised public transport and rail freight. Public ownership of bus companies should be the norm and private routes in major cities should be taken back into public ownership.
- Nationalising all privatised toll ways and abolition of tolls for light vehicles and buses.
- Extending the rail freight network with dedicated freight-only links to remove heavy vehicles from local roads.
- Introducing and enforcing penalties to stop unauthorised heavy vehicle access to local roads.
- Funding the retraining of long-distance truck-drivers at full pay, for ecologically sustainable work and the buy-out of their trucks where driver owned.
- Phasing-out the use of coal trains as the coal-mining industry itself is phased out. Use these lines for freight and/or passenger services.
- Re-opening closed rural rail lines and upgrading the interstate and country rail network.
- Making new urban development dependent on the provision of adequate public transport.
- Providing cycleways and walking paths.
- Expanding bus priority programs and strategic bus lanes.
- Upgrading railway stations, light rail and bus stops, ferry wharfs and interchanges to provide adequate seating, shelter, bicycle storage and disabled facilities.
- Providing ample free parking at railway stations and transport hubs.
- Providing full staffing on public transport networks.