Older Aussies would rather change their driving habits than use public transport

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According to a roads research survey, middle-aged and older Australians would rather change their driving habits to avoid traffic than catch public transport.

Almost 60 per cent of those aged 45 to 54 say they’d sooner take different routes or ‘rat-run (take side roads), leave earlier, or change appointment and work times to avoid road congestion rather than taking public transport even one day a week.

Of all those surveyed by the Australian Roads Research Board (ARRB), people aged 18 to 24 were more likely to switch to public transport or alternative methods of travel, such as riding a bike or walking, to avoid driving in peak hour.

VicRoads agrees with the findings. In light of the works to the West Gate Bridge, a major arterial linking the northern and western suburbs of Melbourne to the CBD, VicRoads claims that traffic volumes between 6am and 7am have increased by three per cent – suggesting that people are changing their driving habits in order to avoid delays on their morning transit.

The Victorian road traffic authority has also found that traffic has increased by up to eight per cent on alternative roads leading to the city.

However, 22 per cent of those surveyed said they had made the switch to public transport due to increased congestion, with 12 per cent deciding to walk and seven per cent choosing to cycle.

Dr Charles Karl, the ARRB’s National Technical Leader of Congestion, says the generational attitude towards public transport is clear.

Research has found that less than one in three people aged 45 to 65 would switch to public transport at least one day per week instead of driving, whereas three in four of those aged 18 to 24 would.

“While Gen Ys are happy to ditch their cars in favour of public transport, or foot and pedal power, older generations have their hands firmly rusted onto the steering wheel, choosing to work longer hours to avoid the dreaded peak-hour crawl,” said Dr Karl.

Dr Karl suggested that incentives, such as an early bird travel deal, which could offer free or reduced prices for public transport if commuters caught trains, trams or buses before 7am, could change people’s commuting habits.

“The most effective is something that hits your hip pocket,” he said.

But many survey respondents said they would prefer more lanes added to existing roads, additional peak-hour clearways, or greater green-light preference on major roads over side streets, instead of public transport.

Would you travel on public transport one day a week instead of driving at different times? What sort of incentive would lead you to make the switch to public transport? What do you think of your public transport system?

Read more at The Age

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca is a voracious reader who loves words. You'll often find him spending time in galleries, writing, designing, painting, drawing, or photographing and documenting street art. He has a publishing and graphic design background and loves movies and music, but then, who doesn’t?



Total Comments: 38
  1. 0

    There is no way I ever want to have to use public transport, crowds — unreliable and slow — last time I used it was off peak in 1989

  2. 0

    You have got to be joking ! Not prepared to spend all day trying to get somewhere on Public Transport. It’s overcrowded and expensive and loaded with obnoxious bogans. So are the roads but at least I can go from A to B in the same vehicle and easily carry my stuff in the car.

  3. 0

    we live 12k as the crow flies from the GPO and have no public transport within 30 minutes walk,no parking at the nearest bus stop and 20 minutes drive to the most convenient train station.There is also no public transport for those who wish to go east or west as all routes go straight for the city .It is also cheaper to drive to town when we do go on the weekends

  4. 0

    I would not use local public transport. I will not wait 1.5 hours for a bus. I use PT when in Capital cities when not constrained by a timetable or appointment times.

  5. 0

    I’m just sick of appallingly bad mannered high school kids and abusive others I can’t mention because if I did it would be considered to be a racial slur.

  6. 0

    Would use it more if they improved it and actually supplied more carriages and seats!
    But that involves spending more money….and receiving less tax on fuel….which no one is willing to do!

  7. 0

    Public transport in general throughout Australia is woeful.

    Is it governments fault or the ever gullible apethetic public for putting up with it.

    If we had a standard we could compare our services with we may see some improvement, until then I think I will drive.

  8. 0

    Several years ago I decided to leave my car at home 3 days a week and take the bus to work. I lkive 20 kms from work and due to long hours sometimes at work the bus didn’t really work for me so I got a bicycle. My round trip to work is 40 kms. I am in my 60s. Its the best thing I ever did. There are so many benefits to cycling over driving, not just the huge savings I make in fuel. I used to change my car every 3 years, but now have no wish to do so and my current car is well over 10 years old. I have saved myself SO MUCH MONEY but its the other benefits which are the greatest. I recommend to everyone to get cycling.

  9. 0

    We are lucky to live near a railway line where there is parking at the station. We are about 100kms from the city. I always use the train in preference to driving to the city or the airport. It is much cheaper than the cost of driving — we have concession Go Cards — and we don’t risk the all too often 4 or 5 hour hold up when there is a crash on the Bruce Highway.

  10. 0


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