“Public” transport still a privatised hell.

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Let’s be frank, Albury Wodonga has never had a public transport system. If you’ve never had something, it’s rather difficult to miss it. Maybe that explains why more people aren’t screaming in outrage at the sub-standard system we now have.

What we have had since time immemorial is a “privatised bus service” which has always been more about making money for it’s owners than about providing quality, low-cost transport to the people of Albury Wodonga.

Martin’s proud claim to have been “serving the public since 1932” is in fact an ignominious indictment of the tendering process.

Worse, the operators of Martins insist on utilising massively over-sized vehicles, and operating fewer services as a result.

The Dean street terminal is nothing short of filthy, it’s like waiting for a bus in a greasy ashtray scented with unwashed backside.

Apparently the current water restrictions are such that the Dean Street tip shelter can’t even be hosed out. It seems all the shelter in effect does is keep the rain from washing the site clean once in a while.

Personally I’ve ridden commuter buses around Albury more times than I care to remember, I have yet to see a service even one third full.

This to me says one thing loud and clear, the buses are over-sized for the commuter demand. I would suggest a more appropriate method would be to run smaller sized shuttle buses, with an increase in the number of services.

Currently services to areas like Thurgoona and Wodonga are very poorly serviced, outlying areas are completely unserviced.

Weekend services and those during the evening and very early morning are virtually zero.

A privatised bus service makes it all too easy for a bus company to “cherry pick”, service the areas they are going to get maximum profit for minimum effort and forget about the rest.

These kind of factors make it impossible for more people to rely on public transport, with parking in the CBD becoming ever more scarce (despite the multi storey car park finished at considerable cost and representing a questionable use of land), we need to invest in clean, publicly owned, reliable, affordable, public transport as a matter of urgency.

Just as an aside, Kaliana sheltered workshop maintains a fleet of around fifteen vehicles, on any given day around half of which stand idle. 

With petrol prices soaring and climate change as the result of fossil fuel consumption high on the agenda and not looking to abate anytime soon, maybe it’s time public transport was on the agenda locally.

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About alburywodongaonline

Hi I'm Jack Stone (a pseudonym), I'm a long-time Albury resident and I think it's a great place to live and work. I have a strong interest in local events and media and I started this site because I think a different perspective is often needed when reporting local news. I take a keen interest in local politics, as well as what's going on at the state and federal level, I'm also a supporter of social justice issues, the envirionment and the need for people to have a say in the events that effect their lives. I'm a fan of the Border Bandits and I'd love to see both teams take the flag this year, and next year, and maybe the one after that too.
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6 Responses to “Public” transport still a privatised hell.

  1. Part of the problem is that country people don’t ‘get’ public transport. They also seem unable to walk from one end of the CBD to the other, hence the need for so many half full car parks, and I think the problems are linked.

    You only have to look at the awful failure of Albury City’s excellent free bus service to realise that public transport in this region is a long way from becoming an issue that most people are aware of.

  2. It becomes something of a chicken and egg debate doesn’t it? Is public transport not used because it’s not available OR is it not available because it’s not used?
    I think it’s just appaling that it’s not even on the agenda though.
    It’s infrastructure like that that makes the difference between a town and a city and if Albury Wodonga is serious about wanting to move ahead it’s something we need to embrace.

  3. raydixon says:

    From what I’ve observed you certainly seem to need public transport, if only to commute between the two centres of Albury & Wodonga. At a guess I would say most people who live in Wodonga work in Albury, and a lot of them shop there too. And both towns/cities are quite spread out. But I don’t like your chances of it being anything but privately operated. That’s the way things are.

  4. yes it is, but that doesn’t necisarily mean it’s the way things have to be.
    Until we address the issue though we will be completely dependant on individual motor vehicles and will endure increasing polution/ parking/ traffic problems as a result.

  5. Jim says:

    I reckon there’d be a lot less opportunities for orthopaedic surgeons if shanks’s pony was more regularly used, instead of the blatantly lazy ‘carpark to carpark’ act evident everywhere in the twin cities’ CBD’s.

  6. You’re right Jim, I wonder how many of the people I see out walking every night could have achieved the exact same (or better) effect just by leaving the car at home for the day?

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