[SMH] - Commuters happier chained to the wheel

IT IS no longer just a question of unreliability or poor public transport links - Sydney commuters are driving to work simply because they can.

The annual crash figures from the insurer AAMI reveal that 63 per cent of Sydneysiders would prefer to sit in a traffic jam than catch a bus or train to work or to university and TAFE. And only 5 per cent walked or rode a bicycle, even if they lived close to their workplace.

About 43 per cent of the 2380 motorists surveyed said they shunned public transport because it took too long, while 34 per cent chose to drive because they felt buses or trains were too unreliable.

"While some of the reasons for not using public transport are valid, it appears the car culture still reigns supreme, with nearly 29 per cent of Sydney residents using their cars out of sheer preference alone," an AAMI spokeswoman, Selina O'Connor, said.

Sydney's obsession with cars is unlikely to disappear as the long-delayed M4 East road project begins morphing into a multi-billion dollar series of tunnels to upgrade the road network. The project is billed as being "bigger than the Sydney Harbour Bridge".

Initially planned to link the M4 toll road with City West Link and Anzac Bridge, the Iemma Government has been considering for some time a proposal to extend the M4 East to the airport or to Port Botany.

It has now added into the mix the possibility of extending the link to the Iron Cove Bridge.

"Can we boost the state economy by dealing with the congestion and the movement of freight, at the same time as addressing a piece of infrastructure? That's what's led to bigger thinking on this project," the Premier, Morris Iemma, said yesterday.

But he denied the new toll road proposals were linked to prospective proceeds from the sale of the state's electricity industry to private investors.

A report given to the Government by Professor Tony Owen last month indicated as much as $15 billion could be raised from the sale of electricity assets.

Although trade unions remain opposed to the sales, they may agree to the sale of the retailing arms, raising $2-$3 billion.

Government sources have suggested that as much as $2 billion of the proceeds from the power sell-off could go towards the M4 East extension, with that money helping to keep down any toll on the road, in the wake of the Cross-City Tunnel debacle.

"We are potentially talking about a project that is bigger than the Sydney Harbour Bridge, a multi-billion dollar project, and when we do release the discussion paper, there will be an extensive consultation period with the public," the Minister for Roads, Eric Roozendaal said of the proposed network of roads.

Mr Iemma said: "It has got to be feasible … and we have got a lot of work to do on detail about when you can actually start, how it is to be funded, let alone before you decide the routes.

"In the past the thinking has always been: [the M4 toll road] terminates at Concord - provide a link to the city. How best do you do that? Is there an opportunity here to tackle other issues, the movement of freight around the inner west - inner city roads frankly that weren't built to take that?"

The State Government is to release a discussion paper by the end of the year outlining its options for the M4 East.
Oh What a Gasser! Rex Mossop.
Bloody hell. I only drive because Enfield is too far from Flemo station. Given the choice, I'd use the train. Get an extra hours sleep that way.
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Its a pride / superiority thing I think. I think some folk can se ethemselves as being a "lower" class is they use PT. When I was 19 and had my first bus, I used to do free runs for pubs (the publican would pay a small, fixed rate every weekend and patrons wopuld travel free) calling in once half way thru the night, and again at closing time to take anyone home absolutely free of charge for the passenger. The publicans did it under their responsible service clauses.

Even though there was a totally free was to get home sitting at the door, a great deal of folk still insisted on paying for a bloody taxi! (And the bus never had "Xyz pub courtesy bus" on it either - it was a clean-skin, so it was no shame in that sense).

So really, I think its a pride thing. But this will have its price in time to come.....especially at the bowser!
"You have enemies? Good! That means that you have stood up for something you believe in, at some time in your life....."
Agree 100% roller. I've struck many people who say something like, "oh I can't wait to drive instead of catching the train/bus/ferry", who then wonder why I look at them funny. Then I usually start going on how I get my hour a day to listen to my Mp3's, read, snooze or whatever, how cheap it is, etc, and I find they usually start trying very hard to justify their own decision - very funny Smile

People who complain that PT "takes too long" have obviously never seen Ips Rd at Goodna at 7.30 in the morn...
Sometimes I can understand why some people are chained to the wheel. I went to get the 333 Buz Bus service from the City to Chermside yesterday.

I arrived at 1530 hours to find that the 1530 had gone and the 1545 didn't turn up. The 1600 hours bus turned up and was packed due to the other bus not turning up. As a result this bus took 42 minutes from the City to Chermside.

I finally got to Chermside at 1640 Hours and was 10 minutes late. I wasn't too impressed as you could imagine.
"It shocks me that Huggies has had a good idea for once in his dim-witted life!" - Jason Roberts, A.T.D.B.
Only find it easier to catch PT when I'm on a 5-day roster smack bang between Monday to Friday ... otherwise its quicker and cheaper to drive in on weekends, early shifts, or for night shifts (takes about 25-40 mins, as opposed to the train +walking taking 50 mins + waiting time due to the works at Brunswick Street). I don't appreciate sitting at Wacol for the first train of the day at some ungodly time of the morning.
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