I AM a recent public transport convert. Though I love to drive my car, petrol prices and environmental factors have influenced me into taking the bus and riding my bike wherever I can.
There has been a big push by governments for everyone to do the same.
While this undoubtedly does much good, including less congestion, fewer greenhouse gas emissions and less cost to drivers, there are some negative aspects which contribute to some people's dislike of public transport and 'being green'.
Bike riding is a great way to keep fit and get to places without having to drive. However, this is Ballarat.
A place where the sun rarely shines, and when it does, only for a brief period to remind us of what we are missing out on.
Even with a raincoat, it is not always feasible to ride to different places.
Taking the bus also has downfalls. While you can occasionally get some reading or work done on the bus, there is usually not enough room to even sit.
This does vary depending on the time of day and the bus route, but it is still a deterrent for people, especially when they have to squeeze through a packed bus to get through the door.
Another issue that affects people taking the bus is the timetable.
Though the drivers do the best they can to get to each of the stops on time, delays can negatively impact on commuters and their schedules.
School traffic, for example, can cause delays for buses as its speed is greatly reduced.
So why can't factors like this be incorporated into the timetables? Surely by now bus companies would know how much extra time it takes them in situations like this which occur everyday, bar the weekend.
They also do not run late enough. Some regional buses get into the city at 6.40pm. The last bus, however, leaves at 6.36pm.
Unless commuters have a friend or relative that can pick them up they have no choice but to take a taxi which is infinitely more expensive.
This is another factor which should be considered in regards to bus timetabling. Will it really cause that many problems to correlate the bus times a little better?
Overcrowding is another big problem not just with buses but also with trains.
The Courier has recently published various articles about the overcrowding on V/Line trains to Melbourne.
If the government wants people to continue using public transport, they need to provide the infrastructure which allows them to do so.
People who drive cars are well aware of the environmental impacts-it's hard not to be in today's society.
They don't drive so they can add more carbon dioxide to the air.
It is time and access which affects whether they drive or not.
If the government is serious about decreasing air pollution and traffic congestion, then they need to increase infrastructure.
It is much faster and easier to simply drive where you need to go.
They need to make it worth commuters' time and money.
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