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Your views: on fixing public transport, and remembering William Light

Reader contributions

Today, readers comment on Transport Minister Stephan Knoll’s “complicated” plans to boost public transport passenger numbers, and a vision to rebuild a lost memorial to Colonel Light.

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All aboard

Commenting on the story: Knoll’s knot: His ‘complicated’ plan to fix Adelaide’s struggling public transport

I am a frequent heavy rail user. The line I catch is yet to be electrified, slow and relatively infrequent.

I regularly travel to Sydney and Melbourne, both of which have excellent heavy rail systems.

Sure, Adelaide has a much smaller population than both, but while many of our railway lines continue to operate with outdated technology, the low patronage rates are unlikely to improve.

As the other States and Territories continue major investment into both light and heavy rail, South Australia turns to e-scooters, trackless trams and ride-sharing buses.

Are these relatively unproven technologies really the answer to increasing public transport patronage? Louis Rankin

Stephan Knoll’s interview answers a lot of questions, but it also raises questions namely in relation to integration.

January 1996 heralded the first of the privatised contracted bus services to commence in Adelaide, with the Outer North being operated by Serco.

Unfortunately, this meant also the integration was slowly being eroded because the bus system operates on a complete different radio communication channel and each bus depot is allocated a specific channel to operate on.

Prior to 1996 the radio communications channel was one system based at the Rail Control Centre at North Terrace which managed all of the then State Transport Authority’s bus, train and tram system.

Train drivers could radio the control centre to inform them that the train they are driving is running late, and this lead to integration because buses at many railway stations that had timetable connected services (ie. feeder buses) were held back to connect with the train or whichever mode it was that needed connecting.

From 2009, public transport timetables withdrew connecting bus/train/tram times for a reason unknown to the South Australian Public Transit Association.

Today, Adelaide has an excellent integrated ticketing system (compared to Sydney which does not).  However, the South Australian Public Transit Association believes that we should be innovative and make our public transport system that is Adelaide’s own. 

However, bus and tram priority is lacking.

Many systems are talked about – Perth is an example – but the railway station spacings are higher than in Adelaide. If we had more station spacings it would actually lead to many inner suburban stations being closed down, which would upset many commuters.  

Auckland is another example, but it has spent a lot of money on building extensive motorways.  Last week Canberra improved its public transport system from a radial-based to a hub and spoke system because of the opening of their one and only (currently) light rail line north of the city.

Adelaide needs to improve its public transport and must also move with the times. That last real big timetable change was nearly 20 years ago when Adelaide Metro was formed and Go-Zones and Roam Zones were introduced.  

We have to remember the Adelaide CBD is where most of the commuters travel, to but we also have to understand that locals in suburban areas need cross suburban travel to get to and from appointments, and improved services in the middle and outer suburbs of Adelaide would possible increase patronage.

Lastly, the South Australian Public Transit Association believes all interchanges in Adelaide should have wind breaks and adequate seating and improved directional signage and information provision that would reassure passengers that to change from one mode to another that their interchange is safe and welcoming. – David Beres

The proposed solution doesn’t really make sense at the moment, because an important key to improved patronage is frequency.  And frequency, in theory, costs. 

In my view, your question about subsidy is the crux of the issue.  Is public transport a cost to the budget, or a facilitator of the economy? 

Perhaps the Minister is correct and it is both, but evidence from around the world shows other economies are increasingly understanding that collective mobility, often in the form of mass transit, is a very important driver of how a community functions.

 It affects jobs, education, health (mental health included) and social connectivity.  It drives development.  Just ask those in Portland. Or perhaps those in Auckland – who have reportedly flocked to their revised and updated bus system. 

It is our understanding that the consultants behind the Auckland revision are to be involved here.  Perhaps this provides a balance to our doubt, although it is important to note from the above story that no costs were discussed. 

Is that the role SA Public Transport Authority is to play – setting principles to underpin the AdelaideMetro network?  Now there’s a new idea for Adelaide! – Lauran Huefner

Funding a vision

Commenting on the story: Call to rebuild lost tribute to William Light

SA already has a perfectly good memorial to William Light overlooking the externally hideous Adelaide Oval.

The Government has more than enough to do without erecting any more memorials to anyone. 

If people want to pay for this suggestion out of their own pockets, then go for it, but they should not expect other taxpayers to foot the bill. – Robert McCormick

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