The concept of subsidised and/or select free public transport has been around for decades. Think about Melbourne's free tram zone as a good, successful example. So what are the considerations of implementing these types of schemes and why do I support them?
There are many benefits to increasing the number of people using public transport. In 2019, RACT found that Hobart has the lowest public transport and alternative transport utilisation rate of any capital city at 16%, and that increasing public transport utilisation by as little as 4% would make a significant difference to congestion in and around the city, making car journeys faster for those who require a car. We don't need to achieve a massive change in population behaviour to see great results and thus, simple changes can have great effects. After all, decreasing congestion in the city also makes the city environment more pleasant and more people focused.
Offering frequent free public transport in key areas, such as the CBD to North Hobart, CBD to Salamanca, CBD to Sandy Bay and CBD to Cascade Brewery, could result in greater usage of private business in those areas as well as decreasing the cars on the road. Work in the CBD and fancy going to North Hobart for lunch? No problem!
As the cost of living is rapidly rising, and fuel prices are going up and up, private transport from the outer suburbs is becoming increasingly unviable for some families. Incentivising the bread winners in these families to move to public transport will mean less pressure on these struggling families. This can be achieved by decreasing fares and providing a better service, with improved facilities, allowing these people more time with their families and in their communities, increasing quality of life.
Public transport is a public service, it should be run at a net loss to the governmeent that operates it. No other government service is expected to turn a profit: Hospitals? No; Law enforcement? No; emergency services? No.
The worst model of public transport, is the model where governments try to make a profit from the service charges. When did a public road ever turn a profit? Councils and State governments fork out billions of dollars building and maintaining road networks. Subsidising public transport would cost a fraction of that, but have incredible effects for the population.
In summary, public transport should be:
Thats why I support subsidised public transport and a free public transport network in key areas, in conjunction with improved services in greater Hobart.