Thursday, October 20, 2011

Transport Month Week Three Survey - my responses

Recording my responses to Transport Month Week Three survey for the wall of text. Don't have the muse to be more creative.

Which public transport service(s) do you use and why?
Rail transport
How often do you use public transport and why? (daily/occasionally/events only/never)
Occasionally, sporadically daily
What would persuade you to use public transport?
I'd use it more if it were more unlikely that I'd have to wait 40 minutes for the next train, whether due to breakdowns, dogs eating Metrorail's homework, or just the rather rarefied off-peak schedules.
Do you think an after-hours public transport service should be available and, if so, what would persuade you to use such a service?
Yes! It would help if such a service a) existed, and b) was safe to use. Even something like London's notorious/famous "night bus" could help - anything that can predictably and reliably take me home, even if not super promptly.
What is your experience of the Transport Information Centre and what should be done to improve the overall public transport service in Cape Town?

Never used the TIC - sorry. Figure out how to make it more "cool" to use public transport, not such a Hobson's choice. Break the vicious cycle of mediocrity of service and low appetite for its use.

Longer answer: perhaps there needs to be a bit of stick and carrot. Cape Town's roads seem to have become noticeably more congested over the 15 years I've been driving, especially the intersections of major routes surrounding the principal economic nodes. It would be a tragedy if the solution to this consisted (only) of road widening. Instead, we need to get people out of cars and into buses, trains, and (grudgingly) minibus taxis. I think the City knows this. Carrot: more convenient, safe, clean, all-singing-and-dancing public transport. Stick: higher vehicle registration fees, since you can't attack directly via the fuel price. More stick: continue coming down on drunken drivers like a ton of bricks.

My experience of Germany's train system is that even the upper classes have no qualms about using the trains. Why is this not the case in Cape Town? I can suppose the cause is a combination of stations in dodgy or dodgy-looking areas (or rather, stations *attract* dodginess), ugly, dirty, antedeluvian-looking trainsets (the 10M3's are a little better - but not by much), a culture of mediocrity that suffuses Metrorail that results in poor service that only those who have no other choice will tolerate. I don't think many non-train-users know that at least in peak times and if one's travel needs are along the rail corridors, you get where you want to be, quicker.

Perhaps shorter trainsets can help to address the deserted-trains-give-me-the-creeps problem after hours? Not much of an energy saving but maybe if people felt safer, they'd have a greater appetite for rail transport.

I enthusiastically support the City's efforts to wrest control over commuter rail transport from Metrofail, if only for the potential for a culture reboot that it offers.

Thanks for reading this wall of text!

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UPDATE: "Server Error in '/FeedbackForm' Application. // Runtime Error". Sigh.

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