Sunday, September 29, 2019

Recent history: May 1, 2018 bus protest

On May 1, 2018 many Victorian bus operators protested against contracts that the state government was planning to introduce. They brought their buses into town to circle State Parliament on its busiest day of the year - Budget Day. The fact that this was a pre-election budget would have heightened interest. 

Their message: 'Don't Trust Labor'. The video shows the procession of buses. There are also speeches at the end. The government ended up modifying the contracts. Bus operators signed up. Labor went on to win the election with an increased majority. While bus operators kept their assets, the public got few new services added (unlike the large offering that the NSW coalition government promised voters in its 2019 campaign). However greater flexibility to reform bus routes came, which is a good thing. 

Industry old-timers will remember protests in the late 1980s, also over bus contracts. That was followed by massive service cuts in the early 1990s and then more than 10 years of stagnation of routes and timetables. We are still seeing the effects of this today with inferior services that don't meet peoples needs.

More than a year on, the government and the bus industry appear to have kissed and made up, with the new minister to open a major industry event in a few days. However we've only seen a few additional bus services, with growth lagging population increase.

You might enjoy these well-regarded books on transport topics

Better Buses, Better Cities: How to Plan, Run, and Win the Fight for Effective Transit Steven Higashide NEW!

The Public City: Essays in honour of Paul Mees Gleeson & Beza

A Political Economy of Access: Infrastructure, Networks, Cities, Institutions (Access Quintet Book 4) David Levinson

Human Transit: How Clearer Thinking about Public Transit Can Enrich Our Communities and Our Lives Jarrett Walker

Transport for Suburbia: Beyond the Automobile Age Paul Mees

(Sales links: I get a small commission if you buy via the above - no extra cost to you)

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