'TRANSPORT MESS': Dow calls for dedicated body to fix issues
IPSWICH-based public transport advocate Robert Dow has launched a scathing attack on the Palaszczuk Government's dire performance at providing a reliable train service while also outlining a vital first step needed to fix the current mess.
The chaos that unfolded on the south-east Queensland train network on Wednesday afternoon at peak hour, which left passengers stranded, was another black mark on a government that Mr Dow said was "losing credibility each day that Rail Fail continues".
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The latest debacle has led Mr Dow to reiterate his call for the setting up of a dedicated public transport authority to rectify the situation.
"A government that cannot run trains on time or a full normal service timetable cannot govern Queensland," Mr Dow said in a statement to the media.
"There are only so many times a Minister can recite the words 'angry', 'sorry' and 'disappointed'.
"Continued apologetics over Queensland Rail, and the transport portfolio generally, will not wash with voters."
"We call on the Deputy Premier and Minister for Transport Jackie Trad to introduce legislation into the Queensland Parliament to set up a dedicated public transport authority, Public Transport Queensland (PTQ).
"This could be a new agency or one created through the conversion of an existing agency such as the Cross River Rail Delivery Authority.
"All public transport functions and infrastructure assets should also be transferred from the Department of Transport and Main Roads to the new authority. We believe that this is the first step to getting things right."
Mr Dow explained in depth to the QT why the current government structures around public transport were not working.
"We need a proper statutory authority which has the resources, and the actual authority, to deliver public transport for Queensland," he said.
"What we have currently got is a series of silos. We have got Queensland Rail (QR) and Brisbane City Council - an important player in this because they are a big public transport provider and a but unique in the Australian context - and we have got Translink.
"Translink is just a collection of desks at DTMR. That is meant to be the organisation that looks after public transport but how can they? They have no authority.
"It used to be a statutory authority but the Newman Government took that away and brought it under the Transport and Main Roads auspices.
"Transport and Main Roads is really a roads focussed organisation. The amount of people they have involved with heavy rail you could count on one hand."
Mr Dow said QR tried to do things "but get blocked" and there were "ongoing communication problems with Transport and Main Roads".
"So is it any wonder things are going off the rails," he said.
"Transport and Main Roads have botched the new generation rolling stock program and they have botched the new railway line between Petrie and Kippa-Ring, just two examples of poor outcomes."
Mr Dow has ridden and analysed all rail network systems in the nation and said the one in Perth worked best.
"Good oversight is worth paying for," he said.
"In this regard, copying the Perth model of a dedicated public transport agency - the Public Transport Authority Western Australia - is the right approach to sorting out the basket case that is now public transport.
"That organisation looks after all public transport in Western Australia and there is no interference from a body like Transport and Main Roads.
"They have got the authority, they have got the resources and they have got the means to deliver public transport."