Transport catching up with aging, roaming population
The Tasmanian Bus Association has put together its plan to tackle transport issues for an ageing and diversely located population.
The ‘Moving People Tasmania’ plan outlines ways ahead for the state’s transport system, taking in urban, outer urban, rural and regional bus services.
In Tasmania, the number of residents aged over 65 grew from 15 per cent in 2006 to 16.3 per cent in 2011; the figure is expected to rise to 23 per cent of the total population by 2023.
Tasmanian residents are split almost evenly between country and city living, with 53 per cent of the population in urban areas and 47 per cent living rurally.
TasBus General Manager Geoff Lewis says as people grow up and move out of cities, transport systems must be tailored to respond.
“An ageing and expanding population will bring with it new challenges for Tasmania’s passenger transport network as the number of Tasmanians who do not hold a driver’s license grows and the number of Tasmanians who are no longer able to drive due to age-related factors increases,” Lewis says.
“According to Department of Environment figures, there are more than 295,000 cars in the state with approximately 80 per cent of all trips taken in a car.”
“Achieving this target will alleviate traffic congestion in major centres, reduce greenhouse gas and pollutant emissions, improve community mobility and access, build a more active population and help address social isolation.”
Among the suggestions in the bus association’s plan is for the state to create a centralised transport authority to encompass the delivery of all systems. The plan has also flagged the need for an audit of existing transport services and the establishment of a consultative stakeholder group.
“In our view incumbent operator should have first rights on option for renewal if they have met agreed performance criteria, creating greater incentives to perform and provide stronger investment certainty,” Mr Lewis says
Lewis says the policy document provides some ideas about transport solutions for Tasmanians at relatively little cost.