Saturday, July 2, 2011

South Australia, improving public transport statewide

Tranzwatching in Adelaide, South Australia.

An aspect of funding public transport, whether operations or infrastructure, that arises in Canada, Australia, USA, Germany etc is the triple layers of Government that occur in Federal systems. All these larger countries have a Federal Government, a State or Provincial Government and city government. Often cities pay relatively small proportions of the costs of public transport infrastructure and the "senior" governments foot the greater costs..

In Australia, State Governments rather than Federal Government appear to the biggest players in public transport and in most cases operate transit systems not only in the bigger cities, such as Perth, Sydney, Brisbane etc but also across the whole state. For example, NSW Transit operates buses and trains in (and tofro) Wollongong and Newcastle, not just Sydney.

This week the South Australia State Government (a State with less than half the population of  NZ) announced it has allocated $5.2 million to the erection of 700 new bus shelters across the state.

For New Zealand to achieve the same level of consistent, spread of public transport funding, or to be be in anyway competitive with Australian states, the country's  central Government would need to be far more actively involved in setting and funding strategy and service quality frequency and benchmarks. In the New Zealand context, the state would set standards with the same commitment NZ Transport Agency recently gave to introducing fare box recovery benchmarks, whilst operation of services, as now,  would be under the auspices of regional authorities and  supply of services would come from contracted private operators successful in tender, or commercial operations.

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