Wednesday, September 23, 2009

RACV calls for bus stop access improvements

The RACV, has been doing some useful work on Outer Melbourne Footpaths and their connectivity with bus stops.

Their investigation got significant coverage in the local papers, such as a story in this week's Mordialloc-Chelsea Independent.

The RACV's decision to lobby on footpath access to bus stops is appealing for several reasons:

The first is that they have found a gap in bus service provision. The buses may run, stops may be put in, signage may be erected, but the paths to the stops is some other department's problem so do not always get built.

The second is that the costs of remedies are low. Hence (unlike say level crossing seperations) there should be no government budgetary barriers to extend footpaths to bus stops.

The third requires one to imagine oneself as a motoring lobby. You may suppport a bus improvement but as it will be paid for by others it's a cost-free way of being seen to be green. Your members would not begrudge this since almost as many as the general population take transit, walk or cycle as well as drive. Plus the choice of footpaths running parallel to roads has no possibility of delaying cars, as could be the case with alternative projects like pedestrian crossings, roundabout removals or roadspace conversions to bus lanes. All things considered it is very good politics.

The only possible criticism of Outer Melbourne Footpaths is its limited scope. Footpaths to bus stops are good and needed. But full access to stops also needs fast, direct and safe pedestrian access across all roads at all times of day. These require crossings, traffic light cycles and urban design that do not always put the motorist first, and accordingly may not always be favoured by their lobby groups.

Despite the study's limitations the RACV has successfully brought an important public transport issue to general attention. For this it deserves passengers' thanks.


Anonymous said...


Thanks for your positive comments. Just one addition though, the reason RACV is pushing this issue is nothing to do with motoring. RACV's nearly 2 million members have told us directly and through arms-length market research that they want us to use our influence to improve public transport for them as public transport users. People may be members of RACV because (e.g.) they use one of our 7 resorts or they have house insurance. So while we have a traditional and continuing association with motoring advocacy, we do so in a context of a broader transport system - in which public transport needs to play a much larger and more dominant role. Hence our interest in bus stops. Also of interest might be the 'parent' report 'Outer Melbourne Connect' at, in which we call for other pt improvements. Thanks.
Peter Daly, RACV.

Peter Parker said...

Thanks Peter.

The RACV's outer Melbourne report is worth reading and can be found at (pdf 5MB)

Riccardo said...

Peter,excellent post. Someone was asking in answer to my rhetorical flourish that there were 1000 more important things than an airport railway, what exactly they were?

I realised it is this, not 1000 but maybe 100000 little things, fixing up paths to bus stops, ped crossings, traffic light phases, legibility around streets and transport interchanges, signage, waiting areas and so on.

You're very good at this and an asset to PT advocacy in doing so.