Thursday 9 October 2014

Why public transport hell persists and why only cycling can free you from it

Summary: While the quality of public transport can be improved, it never improves as quickly and comprehensively as it should because of some entrenched obstacles and challenges. Thus, despite the promises of politicians or hopes of advocates, public transport isn't going to get significantly better anytime soon. Nor is it something you can change yourself. Consequently, if limited to public transport, you could be stuck as a helpless victim of "public transport hell" forever. Driving a car in congested cities may offer some relief but is still expensive and inefficient, and often just as inconvenient, unreliable and unpleasant - just in different ways. This post will summarise the entrenched causes of public transport hell and explain why cycling is the only realistic escape.

Tandberg, The Age

Related Posts:
> See the politics and transport futures category of this blog.
Ride a bike and have complete control over your transport time and schedule

1. Supporting better public transport is important but let's be honest about progress and your control over solutions
- A point of clarification first: I fully support better public transport including significantly increased public funding through taxes. I think it's important to vote for it, to support campaigns for it and to pay for it when using it. I don't get much satisfaction from pointing out its deficiencies or how little they change. However, as so many public transport users complain so much about it but also refuse to consider cycling for any trips, I've decided to summarise these perpetual issues in one place and will continually add links to news articles which demonstrate how little progress is being made.

- Once you've accepted this reality, if cycling could be a feasible alternative for some of your trips, its challenges may not seem so daunting. The key difference with public transport is that almost all of the cycling challenges are under your control to resolve. And all of the solutions are covered on this blog with actual evidence of their implementation and benefits. I haven't had access to a car since 2011 and have fully escaped from dependence on public transport for local trips under 15km since 2013. From Jan to Oct 2014 I have made just one local trip under 15km on public transport that could have been completed by cycling (the few other trips were made by others borrowing my card):

My Myki transactions from April to Oct 2014

2. New extensions/routes and stations/stops are rarely delivered and, if they are, take a very long time
- Promises and plans for public transport from housing developers, even public-owned ones, simply can't be trusted. Nor can promises from government departments or ministers. Actually extending public transport is expensive and takes a lot of work, time and political capital. The people and organisations that dominate decision making in the modern political system have insufficient interest in progressing this difficult work. The following story makes this especially clear as this was a government-designed and managed housing development intended to have sustainable (i.e. public) transport. The residents ended up with token bus shelters without a bus service and a rail corridor without a train service:
The Aurora estate in Epping North was designed to be a flagship sustainable housing development for the outer suburbs, with six-star energy-rated homes for all and a bus stop a short walk from every front door. But a failure of communication between government departments might have killed the green dream, with the estate's streets dotted with bus shelters that might never see a bus. The Department of Transport yesterday blamed Aurora's developer, the state government development agency Places Victoria (formerly VicUrban), saying: ''New shelters in Epping North were installed without consultation with the Department of Transport and don't necessarily reflect future public transport routes." 
Several bus shelters went up around the estate earlier this year, in accordance with Places Victoria's plan that 80 per cent of homes in Aurora be within 400 metres of a public transport connection. But an upgraded bus service for Aurora is ''subject to additional funding'', the department says, and it has no funds set aside for one. Residents, who started moving to Aurora five years ago on a promise of good public transport, feel betrayed. 
The Aurora estate also has a rail corridor that might never have a train line. It branches off from the Epping line, and Aurora's original master plan from 2006 includes train stations at Epping Plaza, Aurora and Epping North. But the plan to extend the rail line was frozen under Labor and the Baillieu government has said it has no plan to build it either. ''The government does not plan to extend the rail network to Epping North at this time,'' Minister for Public Transport Terry Mulder told residents in August. There is one active bus stop in Aurora, on the edge of the estate. The service runs every 40 minutes for most of the day, but residents say delays mean they often miss train connections.
Epping hell: estate residents 'betrayed' by promises

- The fact is that the politicians that talk about improving public transport will never be around to deliver it or take the credit. Thus the effort primarily goes into plans, promises, advertising campaigns and feasibility studies:
Reality check for the people of Victoria: there is no train to the airport "with services every 10 minutes", no tunnel beneath the city connecting Fishermans Bend and St Kilda Road to the CBD. You are being fed a myth. Again. These rail projects are never happening, or at least not for decades. The Melbourne Rail Link, from Melbourne Airport to Southern Cross, then through to Fishermans Bend and Domain – the Napthine Government's plan for "generational change to public transport" – will not happen based on current funding levels. 
Transport Minister Terry Mulder was asked repeatedly at a media event recently when Melburnians would be able to catch a train to the airport. He could not say. The budget papers say the project will be completed "from 2023/24" – more than two terms of government away. A more pressing question is: when will work start? A taxpayer-funded television ad during the Brownlow Medal count showed a new train zooming to the airport, with a voice-over saying, "Trains will depart every 10 minutes". This is breathtaking spin. The government knows the timetable for a train line is more than a decade away, but it cannot nominate in what year it be might be completed? 
The ABC TV series Utopia was about the fictional government agency Nation Building Authority that never actually builds anything and instead unveils plans and "stage two" media announcements to keep politicians happy. Sound familiar? Governments should not try to advertise their way to another term, and oppositions need to set out clear funding plans for grand infrastructure policies. Victorians are sick of phonies with phoney projects.
The sad truth about Melbourne's transport future
In the 2010 Victorian election campaign, then opposition leader Ted Baillieu gave a convincing impression of leading a party committed to expanding the rail system with new lines to Doncaster, Rowville and Melbourne Airport. But all he actually committed to was the preparation of feasibility studies (which were all duly done for around $5 million a pop).
The Urbanist: Are politicians putting public transport on lay-by?
- The reality is that even if the stars aligned and politicians, popular support and funding were all 100% committed, there are limits to how radical any improvements can be within the highly-developed areas of large, established cities. It's extremely costly, complex, bureaucratic and time-consuming to make big changes:
And it’s surely evident, given the massive cost of retro-fitting infrastructure in urban areas, that cities like Melbourne can’t realistically build their way to a brighter future; they can’t put a lot of eggs in the shiny new rail line/motorway basket. They have to think much harder about ways of using existing infrastructure more efficiently and managing demand better.
The Urbanist: Are politicians putting public transport on lay-by?
The sad truth about Melbourne's transport future
> First major Melbourne rail line in 80 years still six months off
The Urbanist: Are politicians putting public transport on lay-by?

Cycling solution: Those with the most to gain from cycling for transport can make smart housing choices that enable them to get to many of their local and regular destinations conveniently and safely by bike. See: The lifestyle choices category of this blog.

3. Routes and stops are rarely optimised for service; Existing stops often disappear
- Public transport never makes a profit from usage charges and so the extent of service (stops, timetable frequency, route coverage, capacity) is inherently under minimisation pressure from those who manage it. This is particularly the case when private enterprises run the service. Their perverse contracts typically mean they profit for "on time performance" and simply running a target number of services per day, regardless of whether they pick up any passengers and service them effectively. These problems aren't intractable but the entrenched vested interests (business, politicians, unions) ensure that the game remains the same.
The bus used to be convenient for Ms Plows, 67. When she moved to her home in Shalvey, north-west of Mountt Druitt, in 1973, there was a bus stop one street away. Later there was a stop outside her house. But about four years ago the weekday buses changed routes and weekend buses were slashed. The stop on her street vanished.
For many, public transport is now a private hell

Cycling solution: Those who can cycle are not helpless victims of disappearing stops, irregular timetables and routes that don't pass close enough to their homes or destinations.

4. Public transport services are often cancelled, replaced or changed
- Cancellations, sudden changes and skipping stops has become a characteristic of daily public transport rather than actual emergency measures. Public transport operator contracts, measures and profitability needs make this inevitable. The operators would be happy to run empty trains on perfect schedules to maximise their on-time bonuses.
Labor says if it wins government in November it will stop Metro's policy of skipping train stations and locking in passengers in order to make up lost time. It follows a warning from Victoria's Public Transport Ombudsman that commuters must be warned before a train switches to express and starts skipping stations. Ms Hennessy said Metro's train punctuality figures "have been built off the back of station skipping and timetable manipulation". 
Public Transport Users Association president Tony Morton said it was clear Melbourne had a problem with its rail system if it had to resort to stopping patterns "being altered on the fly". "Whether it is a perverse consequence of the way we have written the incentives in the contracts with private operators because we have a privatised system or whether we just don't seem to be as good at running trains on time as other cities around the world, for some reason we do seem to have this problem."
Labor would review Metro's station skipping policy
It was 7.50am - the middle of the morning rush - when I and about 80 other people on the platform were told the next train had just been rescheduled to become an express service and would not be stopping for us. Trains run every 20 minutes on the poorly serviced Upfield line so there was a stampede for the gates as scores of commuters sought other means to get to work. I noticed little discernible anger in the crowd, just resignation that this is what catching the train to work means in 2014 - taking the risk that you'll be left stranded on a platform as Metro pursues its greater goal of pushing up its punctuality performance stats.
The true cost of Metro skipping stations
Metro Trains avoids paying compensation for unreliable services despite a commuter crush and skipped stations

Cycling solution: Cyclists can run their own schedules. See: Ride a bike and have complete control over your transport time and schedule

5. Many public transport agencies refuse to release data that would make trip planning easier and improve convenience and access
- This has little cost and if dozens of cities on every continent around the world (including quite poor ones) can provide mapping/app providers like Google the data reliably in a usable format then so can any city in a developed country. See: Google Transit - Cities covered. This fact reveals the dysfunction in many public transport government agencies and perverse incentives in public transport operators - the public aren't the chief priority. It's laughable that Google Maps in Melbourne in 2014 still can't plan journeys by public transport:.
The inability to use Google to plot public transport journeys in Melbourne has long been a source of frustration, made all the more galling by the fact that it can be done in every other Australian capital. Use Google Maps to find the best way to get from the CBD to St Kilda, say, and you'll see options on how to get there by car, bicycle or on foot, but not by train, tram or bus. This is because the state has never publicly released its timetable data to be used by Google or any other developer. 
Tony Morton, president of the Public Transport Users Association said... "In other parts of the world it's virtually a no-brainer that this is public transport and so the information is just published and there is no attempt to impose rules on how people use it [because] it's information that ultimately belongs to the public." "The culture of secrecy surrounding transport data has meant commuters have been stuck with PTV’s crappy app, which doesn’t even have a map function," Ms Hennessy said.
Melbourne public transport: Tram, train, bus users stranded with unusable data
Yet this has been requested and promised for years. Back in 2011, the PTUA advised:
“Years after we suggested that Melbourne be added, we’ve now learnt that the Department of Transport has met with Google and it’s underway. At last, it seems it will – eventually – happen”, said Mr Bowen. “When it finally arrives, it will be a big plus to passengers.”
PTUA: Melbourne to get Google Transit eventually, but data to remain secret?

Melbourne public transport: Tram, train, bus users stranded with unusable data
Ask LH: Will Google Maps Ever Add Melbourne Public Transport Information?
> Techgeek: What I envy about Sydney – Google Transit

6. Overcrowding during peak periods is a problem that won't be solved in the long run
- Common experience would inform any public transport commuter that peak hour transport, especially trains and trams, are getting more crowded in the long run. While increasing timetables where still feasible can provide respite for a period, ultimately growing populations and induced demand will win out. Meanwhile, the major infrastructure expansions required to boost capacity never arrive. Most such projects never start. See: The sad truth about Melbourne's transport future
The level of overcrowding on Melbourne's trains has jumped significantly this year, new data shows, with almost one in two peak-hour commuters on the city's worst affected lines forced to squeeze into overcrowded trains. Overcrowding on trams has also risen this year, with the most densely packed services again found on routes used by the city's smallest trams.
Overcrowding soars on Melbourne's busiest train, tram routes
- Even when overcrowding statistics temporarily do go down this often reflects a fall in patronage (less people being served) rather than expanded capacity. See: Victoria Greens: FOI figures reveal worsening train overcrowding

- The long term estimates of peak hour overcrowding reliably show that the problem gets worse with ongoing growth in demand and only radical delivery of public transport infrastructure improvements can relieve the constraints. Unfortunately, the delivery of expensive, hard and long-term public goods is a political shell game. See: The Urbanist: Are politicians putting public transport on lay-by?

7. Ticketing systems and changes continue to be expensive, flawed and create unnecessary inconvenience
- Again one would think that in the 21st century it can't be so difficult to implement and run a simple, hassle-free electronic ticketing system. Yet these systems continue to be plagued by budget blowouts, delayed and botched rollouts, inadequate access, excessive faults and massive time-wasting and inconvenience due to issues like incorrectly blocked cards.

- I have personal experience of the latter when I lost my Myki card and asked for it to be blocked. Public Transport Victoria (PTV) didn't block the card I lost and then much later blocked a different replacement card of mine and failed multiple times to resolve the issue. This caused a significant amount of wasted time, effort and money and provided an insight into just how dysfunctional and perversely incentivised public transport agencies and operators can be. I summarised my experience in correspondence to the Public Transport Ombudsman (who mostly just wasted more of my time):
I have a simple question: Imagine if a bank did any of this:
- Took 5 months to action a block request
- Blocked the wrong card
- Refused to unblock your card and said it was impossible
- Operated systems/processes that meant its customer service staff cannot assist you at all when you go visit them (even with all the cards, statements, ID, etc.)
- Provided the most inefficient method possible for obtaining a refund/replacement/transfer
- Failed to action multiple refund/replacement/transfer requests, even though submitted by post with all necessary info
- Failed to contact you at all for several weeks until threatened with being reported to a supervisory authority
- Even when agreeing to action something that can be done in 2 minutes, claims it takes up to 10 days to complete 
Would that bank continue to exist for even a month? Clearly not. So what is the process to reform such incompetence, unprofessionalism and unethical behaviour for a public sector monopoly?... And the broader issue is that the self-interest of public sector monopolies and their staff needs to be aligned with service delivery - at minimum it should not actively work against service delivery; that is a perverse situation. My experience with PTV with this issue has led me to conclude that the less I travel by public transport (and thus the less I have to do with PTV) the better off I will be.
- Poorly-designed and managed ticketing systems are also often plagued by ongoing errors and issues that are not fixed for years or ever. For example, years after Myki was rolled out it is still consistently overcharging around $25,000 a week:
The rate of overcharging is unacceptably high, and despite promises that a solution will be implemented, two years on the problem hasn't gone away. It's sad that there's a general acceptance that we're stuck with this system, and there no longer appears to be any political will to hold the contractor to account. It's hard to believe that a two billion dollar bit of gear doesn't come with a warranty. MykiLeaks was intended to be a short term experiment that pressured the operators of myki into completing the job they were paid to do. Unfortunately, two years on we're no closer to a reliable ticketing system.
MykiLeaks - About
> Crikey: What should be done with myki?
> SMH: Opal card makes public transport harder, less fun and more expensive
> MykiLeaks - About

8. Public transport will continue to fail under extreme conditions
- Transport infrastructure will always be designed primarily for normal conditions and will not cope well with most extremes, even if those situations are when customers need it most. For example, in Melbourne, heatwaves are dreaded by public transport users as the rail network (and even trams) can be expected to fail each time:
Melbourne's public transport system could face another day of chaos with temperatures forecast to hit 44 degrees on Friday. Metro urged commuters to leave work early as the temperature soared into the mid-40s on Thursday with many train and tram services cancelled or delayed because of the extreme temperatures. Yarra Trams echoed the warning, urging passengers to leave early due to the need to take trams out of service for maintenance.
Heatwave chaos: More of the same as trains, trams go into meltdown
Frustrated commuters have aired their grievances on social media after reporting chaos on Melbourne's public transport system, claiming tears have been shed, punches thrown and fellow passengers begging to board already packed trains. Melbourne's public transport system collapsed under the fierce heat this afternoon, with Metro Trains warning commuters to leave the CBD as early as possible after a fire forced the closure of the Frankston line and major delays across the system clogged up others, leaving commuters stranded and fighting for a spot as temperatures soared above 40C. The scene became so tense at Melbourne Central station, stunned onlookers claimed it escalated to the point where a punch was thrown between passengers.
Melbourne commuters 'crying, begging' to board trains as Metro Trains suffer under the heat
- The truth is that public transport commuters must have short memories if they think each extreme circumstance failure will lead to more robust systems in future. These failures occur every year like clockwork when extremes arise. Occasionally there is a moment of candour from the operators and some root causes of the ongoing unreliability become evident:
Melbourne's train system will continue to fail in foul weather until its ageing signals are replaced with newer, more reliable technology, says the head of Public Transport Victoria. Melbourne's patchwork of "traffic light" and copper wire signals is up to 80 years old and have proven vulnerable to attack from a range of forces including electrical storms, copper thieves, rodents and a flying bat. On each occasion an isolated signal failure has caused a domino effect that has delayed dozens of trains and inconvenienced thousands of train travellers.
"We still have mid-20th century technology that relies on copper wires carrying signals from one place to another and if anything causes those copper wires to fail then you don't have a signalling system," Public Transport Users Association president Tony Morton says. He blames the system's vulnerability on decades of government neglect. "This is what you should expect when you have a succession of penny-pinching governments looking for ways to spend less money on maintaining and upgrading the system to a level where it can cope with these sorts of days of bad weather."
Trains will continue to fail until ageing signals are replaced: PTV chief
> Melbourne storms: long delays for commuters after transport system meltdown
> Metro Bingo

Cycling solution: Robust bikes with puncture-proof tyres never break down and leave you stranded. Because of its lack of dependencies, cycling is feasible in almost all conditions. See: Cycling is the most sustainable transport option

9. Public transport will always have safety problems in some areas and times of day
- Public transport can certainly be made safer but it's very nature means that in certain locations and at particular times there will always be safety risks for patrons. Even the introduction of transport protective service officers cannot eliminate these risks:
Assaults at railway stations are at a six-year high, up more than 40 per cent since 2008-09 and up more than 30 per cent since Protective Services Officers began patrolling stations in February 2012. Police say this is because more people are being caught and there are now calls for Protective Services Officers to be given more flexibility to patrol trains and NightRider buses and to operate during the day. Almost one in five of those surveyed claimed that they have been threatened or assaulted at some time while using Melbourne's rail network.
PSO patrols result in surge in rail-station assault figures
Cycling solution: While not risk free, cyclists are much less exposed to assaults and robbery, especially if they take sensible precautions. See: How cyclists can protect themselves from assault and robbery

10. The nature of public transport means that anti-social behaviour can't be escaped (personal space intrusions, unwanted interaction, noise, smells, hoarding seats, discourtesy, etc)
- These grievances and annoyances can't be escaped or eliminated as you're sharing a mode of transport with strangers. These types of issues are one of the major reasons people choose to drive instead whenever feasible, even if driving is more costly and time consuming.

HuffPost: Public Transit Pet Peeves: The Worst People On Subways, Streetcars And Buses
Thought Catalog: 10 Things People Who Take Public Transportation To Work Understand

Cycling solution: It's a private mode of travel that doesn't suffer from many anti-social issues and cyclists can control their necessary interactions with other road users to make them much less annoying, stressful and unpleasant. See: How to reduce conflict with motorists and pedestrians

11. Responsibility for public transport will always be scattered by design and the buck will never stop anywhere
- I described above how I had an issue with an incorrectly blocked Myki. I was unable to chase down an accountable agency willing to acknowledge the system and process deficiencies, let alone accept responsibility to fix them. Public Transport Victoria (PTV) is "a statutory authority that manages Victoria’s train, tram and bus services". It denied there was any deficiency; indeed it deliberately refused to even engage with the substance of my complaint. The Public Transport Ombudsman (PTO) is a "not for profit, independent dispute resolution body, providing a free, fair, informal and accessible service for the resolution of complaints about public transport in Victoria." Janine Young, the actual ombudsman, stated in their final correspondence:
Clause 4.2(e) of the PTO Charter precludes me from investigating any matter which is specifically required by legislation, including subordinate legislation, rules, codes, licences, and orders made in accordance with the law, or any matter which, under an agreed working procedure with PTV or another relevant government authority, is to be handled by PTV or another government authority as the case may be. Thefore working procedures introduced by PTV, which are introduced as policy decisions or business rules, may also be out of my jurisdiction. The business rules that make myki, as the government approved ticketing system, operational for Victorians on a day to day basis are examples of working procedures which clearly fall within Clause 4.2(e). Included in these rules is the PTV's decision to make dormant those actions yet to be applied to myki cards after specific and stated timeframes. 
Having regard to Clause (m) and (n)'of my Charter I must form a view as to whether it is appropriate to refer issues of a broad, system-design nature to Public Transport Victoria if they give rise to similar complaints. To do this my office has well established systems and processes for:
(m) keeping adequate data on complaints or requests for information, both for reporting purposes and to identify the sources of practices giving rise to similar complaints; and
(n) monitoring general trends and systemic issues arising from the complaints made or referred to the Ombudsman and raising those issues with members, regulators as the Ombudsman considers appropriate.
Due to the complexity of the modelling and business intelligence that feed into decisions taken at executive levels of Public Transport Victoria to deal with the majority of consumers using the system, it is my view that this aspect of myk√¨ is a function of Public Transport Victoria’s responsibilities which fall outside of my jurisdiction. Accordingly, taking into account Clause 4.2 (e), Clause 7.1(m) and (n) of the Charter I have decided not to make such a referral. 
However, it is my sense from reviewing your file that your feedback has been offered in good faith and with the intention of effecting positive change to Victoria's public transport system. While the process for managing myki actions, including the transfer of actions from a lost card to a replacement card, is governed by operating procedures that have been in place for some time, your experience is an example of how, rules designed to efficiently deal with the vast majority of transactions can sometimes have a negative impact on a small number of commuters. In recognition of this, I will forward a copy of this letter to the Director, Customer Services at Public Transport Victoria. This will enable PTV to consider your experience when undertaking review of its business rules relating to dormancy and the transfer of actions to replacement cards; and, while maintaining the integrity and effectiveness of myki, consider improvements which reduce the inconvenience experienced by some commuters.
PTO Correspondence P2014/1715 to Adrian Lobo - 6 Oct 2014
- Essentially despite taxpayers spending billions of dollars on Myki and PTV systems, PTV is apparently unable to use these systems to unblock cards, delete pending blocking actions or prevent dormant blocking actions from being transferred to the wrong card. And here I thought those unique Myki card ID numbers might be useful for something. Here's a tip for PTV and the PTO - at my work I routinely create automated solutions (e.g. workflows) that ensure pending actions are only applied to the intended item by checking unique IDs and using filters. It doesn't have to be costly, time-consuming or complex to get system design right. It's certainly not the case that to get the benefits of automation in one area you need to live with such obvious bugs. And if a system design has obvious defects the correct resolution is to remediate them not try to convince adversely affected customers that their issues are minor wrinkles in a great feature. Despite Janine Young's referral, I have no doubt I won't hear back from PTV (e.g. Alan Fedda, Director of Customer Services) about any plans to fix these issues.

Then there's the Victorian Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure (DTPLI). Don't even waste your time contacting them as they've divorced themselves from dealing with the public regarding public transport deficiencies. See: DTPLI: Legislation establishing the PTDA. I emailed the relevant Minister (Terry Mulder) but there was no response. I won't even bother to list all of the other agencies/parties referred to during my attempts to resolve this single issue. I'll simply quote just one more example from PTO's correspondence from 8 August 2014 where PTV attempted to explain why they failed to action both of the posted forms I sent to get the credit on my incorrectly blocked Myki transferred:
The PTV call centre recently transitioned from one call centre provider to another. During the transition period, PTV experienced delays in consumers receiving contact. PTV attributes the transition as to why you did not receive contact regarding your Refund and Reimbursement Form. PTV offers an apology in recognition of this.
PTO Correspondence P2014/1715 to Adrian Lobo - 8 Aug 2014
- Ultimately, I can only agree with the Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) which claimed in 2010 that accountability was a mess: "This tangle of bureaucracy means that public transport in Victoria doesn't work as well as it could and should." It provided this handy spaghetti diagram of a system that is purposely designed to avoid accountability for resolving deficiencies and issues.

Public transport that works!: The mess we're in

- The Public Transport That Works website provides a handy quiz that exposes what an illogical mess the responsibility for public transport is: Play Pass the Transport Buck!. It dates from 2010 but, as is evident from my blocked Myki story above, nothing has changed. This is despite the fact the PTUA appears to have got what they asked for in PTV - "every major city needs a central Public Transport Authority (PTA) to take responsibility for the likes of:
(a) planning for the future with genuine public participation;
(b) integrating services - trains, trams & buses - into a seamless network for "go-anywhere" convenience, not just services to and from the CBD;
(c) proactively fixing the root causes of delays, cancellations and over-crowding; and
(d) providing a "one-stop-shop" for the public and other agencies."
See: What makes public transport work?

- Make no mistake, the PTUA does a fantastic job and they perfectly understand the issues. Yet despite their best efforts the system conspires to defeat them again and again. That's why I claim that public transport hell will always persist in circumstances where the entrenched, powerful interests continue to dominate. Cycling is the only realistic escape you can directly implement yourself.

Further Info:
The Urbanist
Are politicians putting public transport on lay-by?
Could an Andrews government really deliver on this promise?

Yahoo News 7: Sydney's forgotten suburbs

Sydney Morning Herald
For many, public transport is now a private hell
> Fantasy choo-choo another test of Australian travellers' patience

The Age
The sad truth about Melbourne's transport future
Epping hell: estate residents 'betrayed' by promises
> Libs launch attack ads based on 'fantasy' rail line
Melbourne public transport: Tram, train, bus users stranded with unusable data
Labor would review Metro's station skipping policy
> Overcrowding soars on Melbourne's busiest train, tram routes
Assaults at train stations surge
Melbourne storms: long delays for commuters after transport system meltdown
Trains will continue to fail until ageing signals are replaced: PTV chief
Tracking the cost
We're stuck with a ticket to deride
Outsmarted: Victoria pays the price
Ticket chief stopped in tracks
Myki cards nearing four-year expiry date
> Lax culture led to entrenched corruption at Public Transport Victoria, Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission finds
East West Link contract winners shout top public servants dinner at Vue de Monde

Toxic cell of corruption a result of club culture at Public Transport Victoria, inquiry told
IBAC: Former senior bureaucrat made personal profit from public contracts

Herald Sun
Commuters vent anger over Melbourne peak-hour chaos

Public Transport Users Association (PTUA)
Google Transit includes every state and territory except Victoria
Where is that airport train?
Premier responds to Open Letter

Public Transport That Works
> The mess we're in
Play Pass the Transport Buck!
What makes public transport work?

Public Transport Blogs
Melbourne on transit

Beautiful Altona: The Myki Fiasco

Sydney Alliance
> Transport Campaigns


Thought Catalog: 10 Things People Who Take Public Transportation To Work Understand

Jalopnik: The World's Ten Worst Public Transit Systems

Cosmos: Transport in 2030: Heaven or hell?

Human Transit
> Lamentation: bicycles vs transit?

Should it take decades to build a subway?