Union calls time on Tasmania’s public transport policy delay

By Melissa Coade

Sunday May 16, 2021

hobart-train-station
(Image: Adobe/Zerophoto)

The Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) want Tasmania’s three major parties to release their plan for public transport and explain what will be done to relieve transport congestion in the state. 

RTBU state branch secretary Ric Bean accused the major political parties of failing to adequately address the need for improved public transport options.

Tasmanians desperately needed more public transport options, but none of the parties have adequately addressed this pressing issue, he said.

“Public transport policies should be front-and-centre in this state election, but so far we’ve seen nothing in terms of policy announcements. It’s time they put their public transport cards on the table,” Bean said. 

Tasmania’s plan for buses is one of the big-ticket items that Jody Nichols, the union’s bus division secretary, said needed more attention. The state needed to stump up more cash to invest in its bus fleet and drivers, as well as tackle overcrowding problems during peak hour by putting on more services, she added. 

Hobart in particular suffers from the worst overcrowding, which the union says must be met with a plan for extra bus shelters, interchanges and park-and-ride amenities. 

“Bus overcrowding during school terms has always been a problem, but we’re seeing it more often now.

“It’s on school buses where we are leaving kids behind, and it’s on regular service buses where people could be waiting as two or three buses go past because we can’t fit them in,” Nichols said.

Ms Nichols said that one passenger she recently collected had missed four passing buses because they were all full.

“Every bus has a limit to what is safe and allowable. If we get to that limit then we are not allowed to fit more passengers on,” Nichols said. 

“This is obviously a problem when people are relying on buses to get to work or a medical appointment, and kids are trying to get to school. We simply need more buses at peak times so that kids do not get left behind,” she added. 

The union also wants politicians to consider measures that will incentivise people to use public transport to clear up the growing traffic congestion such as bus priority lanes during peak hours. 


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