We must overhaul bus routes to allow cross-town journeys, says UDIA SA

The Australian Julian Swallow  From: The Advertiser
July 07, 2013 10:57PM

ADELAIDE’S public transport system must be radically overhauled to allow more cross-suburban journeys that help people get to work more easily, the head of the state’s peak developer’s body says. With just 20 per cent of Adelaide’s population now working in the CBD, Urban Development Institute of Australia SA executive director Terry Walsh said most routes going to and from the city no longer met workers’ needs and must be changed as part of a wider rethink of transport infrastructure.

“We need to start looking at some creative ways of getting some east-west traffic … because only 20 per cent of our working population actually work in the city,” Mr Walsh said.

“Looking at the next 50 years, we’re now going to have to get some tree-branch models, and particularly in the north. We have an opportunity, we have time, but its critical.”

This radical switch would create jobs, boost economic growth, and set Adelaide’s public transport system up for the next 50 to 100 years, Mr Walsh said.

Public transport users who last week spoke to The Advertiser expressed support for a rethink about where services are provided, including the introduction of more cross-city services to take into account changing work and social patterns.

“I think it would work really well for people who don’t have a driver’s licence or cannot drive and who are travelling to work or to see friends,” Chris Graves of Paradise said. “There is no reason why buses should just be going into the city.”

The State Government is currently involved in a record multi-billion-dollar infrastructure-spending program but has had to downgrade some plans, such as the full electrification of the rail network, as it attempts to rein in debt of up to $13 billion.

Rundle Mall Management Authority chairman Theo Maras said the obvious solution was to pursue public-private partnerships to pay for infrastructure, including the use of toll roads.

“In South Australia, we seem to have a mindset that it’s wrong to have a toll road or toll bridge or main infrastructure like harbours,” Mr Maras said.

Without that infrastructure built economically, the state was “behind the eight-ball, he said. “The answer is that we must have it, we will have it, better do it, sooner than later to avoid missing out on the pie,” he said.

A spokesman for Transport and Infrastructure Minister Tom Koutsantonis said a federally funded study was under way to examine all traffic movements.

“The study will feed into the review of the 30-Year Plan for Greater Adelaide and a foreshadowed infrastructure plan so that we can ensure we continue to integrate our network to meet the needs of our growing population,” he said.

Read more here.

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