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Saturday, March 6, 2010

Chicken and egg story

There is always no shortage of pundits when it comes to easing congestion. Take this 'expert' view for an example. All one knows is to slug people with more and more taxes. What happen to all the fuel excise, initially introduced to encourage oil exploration (now more like exploration of grandiose scheme of public wastage)?

If you do not provide public transport, funded by already collected taxes or government borrowing, who is willing to desert other form of transportation, often the only viable form? Do you expect people to use sardine express, ultra-infrequent bus service or walk?

These pundits are wise to take a flight to other world cities to study how much they spent on their infrastructure developments as opposed to those in Australia. Over 30 years, there was hardly any advancement in infrastructure spending or development; it was more of the same, just to get-by, since the displacement of the horse drawn buggy days. Successive governments lack vision, courage, conviction and innovation.

How many high speed train service have you seen in Australia? In the 21st century, Australia still has no uniform gauge train service allowing goods to be transported from Cairns to Perth or from Darwin to Brisbane. How many Australia city has introduced rapid transport system?

No wonder people prefer to use their cars to look after themselves when the governing body has abdicated their responsibility. And no wonder the only option Australian pundits can offer is another form of tax as taxation is the most durable 'innovative' industry in Australia. And also the easiest way out - any fool can just put up tax.

1 comment:

Mark said...

Leon, I agree that governments don't have the guts to forward planning, but I'm not sure having no taxes is the full solution.
I have travelled in Chile and Peru recently for work and found that how they get by in the smaller cities, is using variations on a theme.
In Antofagasta, northern Chile, they have cars that function as a hail and ride bus (called colectivos), with a fixed fee for a loop of a predetermined route, drop off and pickup is a simple matter of hailing prior to a set of lights or asking to be dropped off at a particular location on the route. It does require passengers not to be too precious about personal space, but that's cultural, and culture is a changeable thing.
In Arequipa, southern Peru, they have small Hyundai Getz sized vehicles (they call Ticos), that can take 3 passengers and a roofrack, they run like taxis, but are very cheap to hire whether you share and ride or not. 60% of all vehicles on the road in Arequipa are one of these vehicles.
I wonder if they could of put the money for tunnels towards making the bus network a set of concentric circle routes with shuttle routes on spokes, make them maximum of 10 minute frequency, no timetables, just route maps.
Use electric vehicles in the city for the Ticos, diesel or small engine turbo petrol vehicle for colectivos in the inner city, and buses everywhere else overlapping with the cars.
Surely the taxes from tico and colectivo licences and congestion charges in the CBD if required be able to sustain the initial loses on setting up the bus network.

What are your thoughts?

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