The Wheeler Centre
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Paul Mees: Public Transport
Paul Mees is a leading commentator on urban public transport. In this Lunchbox/Soapbox, he analyses the woes of Melbourne’s transport network, including soaring costs, poor management, bad planning and - in the example of suburban Altona North’s Toyota factory, employing 5000 workers - a lack of alternatives to the car.
Mees questions common excuses for Melbourne’s inefficiencies, drawing comparisons to similar sized cities (including Zurich and Vancouver) where he attributes higher patronage to faster, more frequent and well-run train, tram and bus services.
He cites Monash University in Melbourne’s South-East as particularly neglected, with students enduring uncoordinated and poorly designed services for half a century, again being pushed to ‘car culture’. Even Perth’s notorious sprawl, he argues, fares better than outer Melbourne.
Finally, he contends that public transport - especially the kind run by private operators - won’t improve without a level of outrage and upheaval. This, he says, is where the Victorian elections can play a role.