Good morning/afternoon everyone. I am a volunteer from Total Environment Centre . It is my honour to speak in Willoughby City Council today. The reason that I am here is to raise awareness of public transport issues in Sydney. Sydney is a big city with a large population. More and more people are moving into major population areas such as Central, Chatswood and Eastwood for convenience. As a result, there is an increasing demand on transportation with consequence for the environment.
In order to deal with environmental issues such as air pollution, the NSW Government developed a policy of urban consolidation. This aimed to increase the efficiency of public transport by directing money into it. However, air quality and traffic congestion have not improved. Therefore, we should take action now to increase the use of public transport. First of all, although urban consolidation is meant to increase the efficiency of public transport as developments mostly centred surrounding transport nodes, traffic congestion has still not been eliminated.
As densities increase, the total number of vehicles undoubtedly increases as well. According to a survey by the Northern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (NSORC), more than 50% of citizen in Sydney choose to take their own private vehicle to their workplace. This demonstrates a worrying trend within the region towards a greater reliance on private vehicle use over other methods of transport, particularly trains. It also raises the question of the efficiency and effectiveness of public transport in Sydney.
The lack of reliability and carrying capacity of the train system is emerging as a critical issue for our region. The reliability issues are: trains not on time, trains missing scheduled stations, creating problem pick up and drop off and track maintenance which closes whole section of line. Furthermore, the carrying capacity of the train system means that commuters wait long periods for trains even if they are scheduled. Such fundamental issues with the train system – arguably the fastest means moving large numbers of people – causes increasingly greater demands on other form of transport.
Another survey about car ownership in Sydney conducted in 2010 by the NSORC found that there are more than 90% of households that have their own private car . Our concern is the relatively high level of car ownership despite good access to public transport in many parts of the region. This may be due to the unreliability of public transport. As a result, solutions need to be considered and we need to cooperate with citizens and public transport management to face this situation realistically. There are further solutions to consider. Firstly, a reasonable amount of advertising and promotion need to be conducted.
If we want to raise awareness of this issue, a media campaign to persuade people to use public transport would be essential. Also, sufficient income from ticket sales should be used in such a campaign because the issue of public transport growth is so important. Secondly, public buses and trains should provide wireless internet services to attract commuters and teenagers onto transport. The cost would be more than balanced by the increased number of passengers bringing in extra revenue. In fact, other countries have already used this method such as Hong Kong.
In Hong Kong, the percentage of use of public transport has increased 20% since Wi-Fi was introduced into buses and trains. In NSW, the Government should provide reasonable amount of money to introduce this service. And last but not least, citizens play an important role in educating the community on sustainable transport choices, encouraging active transport options such as cycling and walking. Although the Government and non-government organizations do a lot of things to help the community, what they do in this area is not enough. We need your help and cooperation to achieve a good environment.