public transport

Illustration showning the space on streets surrendered to cars

The absence of cars in our car-dominated cities in the COVID-19 pandemic reminds us that we need green space and mass transit, argues Andrew Chuter.

 

As public transport usage collapses, the private operators of Melbourne’s public transport system are seeking a “rescue package”, reports Chris Slee.

And so it begins. Premier Gladys Berejiklian has been hitting the airwaves telling us all how successful she has been at raiding the public pantry and flogging off the spoils.

On the other side of the political divide Labor MP Jo Haylen is busy telling her Summer Hill electorate just how much WestConnex is on the nose — but conveniently neglecting to mention that her party is right behind WestConnex.

A member of the audience at a recent public meeting in Merewether cheekily referred to Newcastle as being run by the Property Council, not the city council.

Socialist groups and community activists of different stripes have come together under the banner of Victorian Socialists in one of the most ambitious bids in decades to get a socialist elected to state parliament. Green Left Weekly’s Jacob Andrewartha spoke to Stephen Jolly, Victorian Socialists’ lead candidate for the upper house Northern Metropolitan seat, about this initiative.

International students in New South Wales face higher cost of living expenses than their counterparts in other states. This is one of the reasons students at Western Sydney University (WSU) have decided to launch a campaign calling on the state government to grant them public transport concessions.

“New South Wales is the only state where international students do not have the same rights as domestic students and cannot access the same facilities,” Daniele Fulvi told Green Left Weekly.

A toll road spiderweb is spreading across Sydney, with the cost of vehicle journeys set to rise substantially in coming years.

In a recent public discussion, campaigners against WestConnex — the huge motorway and tunnel project in Sydney — were challenged to sum up their case against WestConnex in three sentences. “Start with what the proponents of WestConnex say will be the benefit of the project then say what is wrong with it.”

There were half a dozen seasoned anti-WestConnex activists in the room and each came back with much more than three sentences.

Burrowing under the metropolis, winding through neighbourhoods and consuming green spaces, kilometres of bleak bitumen motorways provide the superstructure for the outdated combustion engine to travel further.

According to University of Technology Sydney, vehicles are traveling 25% further, which equates to 25% more pollutants and 25% more impact on communities and the environment. “Induced traffic” is the phenomenon that when roads are built people switch from public transport to roads and, in the age of climate change, roads congest, choke and gridlock Australian cities.

Early one morning last month, the Chief Commissioner of the Greater Sydney Commission (GSC) Lucy Turnbull — a lifelong resident of the city’s most privileged suburbs along the south-eastern edge of the harbour — quietly slipped across to Sydney’s inner west where she was taken on tour by a WestConnex manager of the M4 East tollway tunnel corridor. There she presumably saw for the first time the gigantic construction sites in Haberfield where scores of heritage homes, businesses, gardens, parks and trees stood until a few weeks ago.

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