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Your views: on improving Adelaide's bus system, and demolishing Shed 26

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Today, readers comment on the State Government demanding bus operators deliver better services for less money, and point interstate for lessons on why it’s worth saving a remnant of Port Adelaide history.

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On the buses

Commenting on the story: Adelaide’s public transport tender demands “notable” cuts

I would like to challenge all politicians to use only public transport for a month – no chauffeur-driven vehicles, no taxis, no private cars – and try to make their appointments. They may then understand how poor the system really is.

Very old buses that subject you to noxious fumes (yes, there are new ones which you may get on 1 trip out of 20), services that just don’t turn up, running late, etc. I really think that they need a dose of reality instead of living in Utopia while making decisions for those that don’t.

The system needs more money spent on it to improve the services, especially if you want to reduce commuters using their cars.

Also, please don’t try redirecting my bus route to a train station, where I then have to wait for a train and a number of other buses, to then be “cattle herded” and crammed onto a train that deposits me no where near my place of work. You would make my journey 15 to 30 minutes longer at least. – Tony Fox

Before cutting out low patronised services, why not find out why they are low patronised and then encourage people to use them?

If then people don’t use them, maybe cut them, but think first as those few who are using the low patronised services are probably shift workers and have mortgages.

As for lack of co-ordination, yes improvements need to be made.

I had to quit a perfectly good job because of a change in a bus timetable. The bus arrived at the Interchange as the train was leaving and not before.

I have to walk from the new RAH as the trams don’t co-ordinate with the trains at night. I miss my train by about 2 minutes if I use the tram. – Graham Nixon.

One function of government is to use taxes to subsidise services – essentials such as police, courts, education, health, transport, energy and communication – that benefit the community, but can never make a profit.

The less well the provision of these, the greater the marginalisation of those who haven’t the resources to make personal provision for them, and thus the more meagre and dysfunctional the quality of life in the community.

I don’t drive and can’t afford taxis much.  Admittedly I have the luxury of avoiding peak hour travel, and I would say that overall, Adelaide’s public transport is pretty good – certainly far from the worst in the world. – Nick Cooper

Worst in the world, eh? Reckon I’ve been to many, many cities on this big, big planet who all make exactly the same claim.  And yet it still gets used.

It works for me.  It’s not perfect, but I don’t expect a taxi service and accept that every now and then something will happen to make your service run late.  That’s life – sometimes I have to wait for my meal at the pub, too.

Nothing wrong with striving for higher standards, but gee whiz, how about indulging in a little ‘it’s not that bad’ chat instead of hanging everything, 12 months down the track, on the previous government. – Bernhard Sayer

Whether the Government is right or wrong in its tender approach, there are some clear facts around the AdelaideMetro system.

The current system is run for about as little as it can be, as a result of competitive tendering. If the market has set a price for what is essentially Government buying kilometres and hours, the only ways to reduce overall cost is to cut kilometres and hours, and/or increase patronage.

Doing both at the same time may be difficult, given the simple fact that there are only so many vehicles available at peak times.

Graham Currie (of Monash University) is of the view that patronage is best increased by three main rules: improving frequency, improving  frequency, and improving frequency.

Can that happen with a declining purchase of kilometres and hours?  Yes, but only by reducing coverage.  Will that in itself reduce patronage?

On that basis the tenderers have a challenge: how much can they deliver for the Government in a price constrained tender?

In short, we can’t be sure that Minister Knoll’s approach will work or not until we try it.  We know that the current network needs a redesign – but how much coverage and frequency will be lost in that revision?  There are simply more questions than answers at this time. – Lauran Huefner

Heritage versus housing

Commenting on the story: “We feel conned”: Consultation designs showed Shed 26 intact

What a gorgeous building. I originally hail from Sydney (40 years ago) but I have seen what has been done with Darling Harbour and the old wharves.

Tourists flock there – it’s part of the history of our beautiful city.  The same with Melbourne.

 Come on South Australia. Preserve this building and its cultural heritage. It too could be a tourist mecca. Richard Forbes

Sydney had a shoreline full of derelict warehouses and sheds on the foreshore of the Sydney harbour around from the Rocks in Walsh Bay known as Piers 1 to 9.

They renovated and used the buildings for restaurants, theatre spaces, art ateliers and accommodation. It is now called the Walsh Bay Wharves Precinct.

Around on the other side of the Art Gallery of New South Wales are a number of old warehouses and sheds on Cowper Wharf, done up into expensive apartments and restaurants that look fantastic along the shoreline and have preserved the look of the original building.

Are Adelaide’s Port sheds so different and so inferior that we can’t use our imaginations and incorporate them into innovative spaces?

Surely we can do better than plastic, plexiglass and pipe structures to replace buildings with some of the state’s heritage written into the bricks and mortar.

Adelaide used to be known for its innovation and forward thinking. What has happened to this city. Get off your hind quarters and use your brains to create better spaces, not tear down and create uninspiring buildings that will age within 10 years. Sherry Proferes

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