Greens fight to ensure that the Hunter doesn’t miss the Bus

Greens candidate for Newcastle, Councillor Michael Osborne, has released a Five Point Plan to improve public transport in Newcastle.

“The Five Point Plan makes it very clear what is needed to improve public transport in Newcastle,” Councillor Osborne said.

“The first Point is to integrate the ticketing between the buses, trains and ferries for everyone, so commuters can buy a single ticket for their entire journey. Currently this is available to some pensioners, so it can be done and it can be expanded to include all commuters.

“The second Point is to integrate the timetables between buses, trains and ferries, so commuters can catch the bus to the train station and know that they won’t have just missed the train. This is not rocket science but it does require good planning.

“The third Point is to establish a locally-controlled Hunter Transport Authority to look after roads, rail, buses, taxis and ferries. Too often decisions about the transport in our region are made in Sydney. We need local control. If the budgets of the Roads and Traffic Authority, State Rail and the Buses and Ferries were combined into a single authority then we could truly get integrated decision-making.

“The fourth Point is to develop an Integrated Transport Plan for the Future developed by local expertise, encompassing the whole of the Hunter, with the Newcastle rail line as the spine of the system. With a population of 500,000, the Hunter is a genuinely self-contained regional area. The Plan needs to include public transport to the airport from Newcastle and Port Stephens.

“The fifth Point is to set a public transport patronage target of 20% by 2020. The current level is about 5%. The new Hunter Transport Authority would need to develop cost-effective strategies to increase the patronage level by 2020. Especially with the climate crisis we need to make transport more efficient and that means getting more cars off the road. There’s a big benefit in having less cars on the road. It not only saves the individual in petrol, parking and other costs, but also saves the community in lives, health impacts and environmental benefits.

“The Sydney bureaucrats seem incapable of making sensible decisions for our future. We need to take control of transport in our region,” Councillor Osborne said.

The Greens Transport Policy aims to encourage public transport, cycling and walking and reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, and oil in particular, as a transport fuel.

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