If you ask most Australians today what worries them the most, they will likely reply that the steadily rising cost of living is the main concern. The rising cost of gasoline, in particular, is a factor that flows through the transportation sector and has an impact on the wider economy.
This trend – felt around the world – is aggravated by the tension in the Persian Gulf and the looming confrontation with Iran. Furthermore, there is the impact of rapidly developing economies like China and their insatiable thirst for oil.
Many commentators believe that if we have not already reached “peak oil”, we will soon. And as demand increasingly outstrips supply, the crisis is bound to get worse.
The purpose of this paper is to consider the crisis in the transport sector: from the need for green and efficient alternatives, to the imperative to provide transitional transport supply infrastructure – as part of a “transport revolution”.
Transport economy in crisis
Considering the skyrocketing price of oil, it could reasonably be assumed that there are already enough incentives for governments around the world Click Here to take decisive action and restructure their transportation economies in favor of affordable and renewable solutions.
The Rudd government’s proposed emissions trading system – applied to gasoline – seemed set to raise prices by up to 10 cents per liter.
In response to criticism, the government signaled that it would cut gasoline excise duty for three years to neutralize the overall revenue effect.
However, there are still compelling reasons to move beyond the kind of oil addiction we have now. Both for the environment and for pure efficiency there is a reason to be argued for the alternative of public transport and for investments in the technology of electric and hybrid cars.
The debate is now crucial: to urge Australian governments to embrace reform and restructure transport economies in favor of affordable, sustainable and renewable solutions.
The case of public transport
Public transport is much more energy efficient and is a less carbon intensive alternative to gasoline vehicles. The Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) examined the energy efficiency of public transport versus private transport. To break down the figures: an average gasoline car will cost around 3.7 mega-joules (MJ) per passenger-kilometer (pkm). An electric train, however, operates at speeds between 0.04 and 0.18 MJ per km, making rail transport up to 92 times more energy efficient.
From an energy and environmentally conscious perspective, there is an undeniable imperative to prioritize greater advocacy of public transport and the improvement of infrastructure and services.
But how convenient is public transport – considering Melbourne’s example – in the face of the current fare system?
Drawing on RACV data, meanwhile, the PTUA compares the cost of running a used car with that of the daily use of public transport: “… even used cars, already fully paid for and that” run with the smell of a greasy rag “can cost over a thousand dollars more in annual registration and fuel than the more expensive annual Metcard.” Here the “annual running costs” are “$ 2,918”.
In comparison, the PTUA noted that (in regards to the Victorian example): “Metlink annual tickets are $ 1,117 for zone 1, $ 748 for zone 2 or $ 1,722 for zones 1 + 2.”
Despite the competitive cost of public transport, however, many still choose to use their cars for convenience. And even the above figures can appear misleading when you consider that car transport can be relatively cost-effective compared to public transport in the case of short journeys. It is essential to address these disincentives to the use of public transport.
As Royce Millar and Simon Mann have argued:
“Only one in 20 Melbourne suburbanites take public transport to work. In the relatively transport-rich inner city, the figure is one in five. Across the city, only 9% of all journeys are made. by bus, train or tram “.
Public transport infrastructure and rolling stock in Australia need to be improved to accommodate more patronage and to provide excellent and affordable service (including increased frequency) at competitive prices to all citizens.
The PTUA is launching a campaign on improving the regularity of public transport services to provide convenience for consumers. The campaign was called Every 10 Minutes to Everywhere.
It is particularly urgent to expand