Originally Posted by KaneD
I personally think there is a lot of scare-mongering going on from the Greens (and Labour for that matter). Investing in PT simply because the price of oil is getting more expensive isn't in its own right a valid reason for making the investment.
You invest in PT when you have determined that there is going to be enough demand to warrant the investment. The demand for PT covers many facets, not just the price of oil. Speed, safety, efficiency, convenience, lifestyle are all factors at play in this issue.
Now yes, agreed, there will be a direct correlation between increasing oil prices and PT patronage, but the question to ask is that of the roughly $700 million that the NZTA estimates it will spend on new roading projects in Chch over the next 10 years, if say $200 million of that was invested in PT improvements instead of roading, would we actually get $200 million worth of benefit from that? Or would the government still have to pay another $200 million to finish the roading projects that otherwise couldn't be finished anyway?
Now I know it is easy to simply say yes... the world is running out of oil... yah-de-yah-de-yah...
But ask yourself this question?
If trams and trains were running to all major parts of the city and outer towns TODAY... How many people would use them over and above those that use PT now? I would suspect that the majority would still use their own private cars.
Since the Chch Western Bypass (Carmen/Russley/Johns Rds) is congested now, it needs upgrading. Now I don't see it likely that we'll be building trams/trains that run roughly on that alignment anytime soon so it would probably mean that we'll need to spend the $300 million on this project alone anyway.
Food for thought huh?
PS: I'm not actually trying to downplay any importance of all the arguments FOR public transport - sustainability, economy, social issues etc... but I am also trying to view the whole picture here, which unfortunately actually includes Steven Joyce's view that for the short-medium term, most NZ'ers will still travel predominantly by private car - Why? Because we can.
The argument is the same on the Aussie blogs - but the point is families have 2, 3 or 4 or more cars in one house.
Germans and Swedes and Japanese too have cars - just not so many per household.
The aim of good public transport should be so houses don't need multiple cars, as well some families further in don't need a car at all. And finally, people make sensible journeys - walk 500 metres to the shops for the pack of cigarettes, ride 3 kilometres to visit a friend, catch the train to work in the CBD rather than drive, catch the bus to University, share a ride if a few are going but its a long way from PT
and finally, if it's all too hard, then drive.
And don't worry about distance - sure distances are great in NZ compared with some parts of the world, but even lowly populated places like Sweden or Japan's northern most island, Hokkaido, have good public transport.
Hokkaido by the way has only 4 million people or so, is as big as one of NZ's main islands, and most of the people live in one large city, Sapporo, in fairly low density surrounds.