This blog is authored by Joshua Gans (Professor at the University of Melbourne) and is devoted to discussions of economics, strategy, occasional parenting and his own pop culture tastes.
One reason why we won’t get any change in the state government attitude to public transport, and comprehensive breaking down of the very effective and influential roads lobby (see Kenneth Davidson past articles in The Age ) is that the fat cats running the state public service get subsidised cars and free city parking.How can you expect the permanent heads of the three most influential departments - Treasury, Premiers and Dept of Infrastructure to really consider significant change to public transport when they don’t use it at all, let alone regularly and experience the joy of “only 8.2% late” trains, or no buses after 7pm, no buses Sundays, the ticket inspector Gestapo and general overcrowding.
A couple of comments -1. From an economic standpoint should we not be charging the marginal social cost of using transport? If so, then if we make public transport free won't this skew the market equilibrium?2. If we want better public transport, the real problem seems to me to be the question of ring-fencing funds to build more of it. Road user charging could help this, but the problem is a political one, not a policy one.
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