THE Tasmanian Government last week said it is committed to improving public transport to better meet the needs of Tasmanians, with the release of the draft Greater Launceston Metropolitan Passenger Transport Plan.
The draft, 10-year strategic plan has been developed by the Department of State Growth in partnership with Metro Tasmania and the three Greater Launceston councils (City of Launceston, Meander Valley and West Tamar).
"Improved public transport is about helping people better access work and education opportunities, along with public services, such as healthcare," Infrastructure Minister Rene Hidding said in a statement.
"This is an important element in delivering on our election commitment to develop a Transport Access Strategy to provide better integrated and coordinated transport services for Tasmanians who are disadvantaged through economic circumstances, disability or age," Mr Hidding said.
According to the government, the draft plan focuses on a number of key initiatives, including:
- Improving the service frequency of buses on key urban corridors;
- Improving the efficiency of the bus network by reducing duplicated routes, or routes which are too closely spaced;
- Exploring opportunities to better integrate urban fringe and urban bus services, so it is easier for passengers to get to their final destination;
- Improving conditions for walking and cycling, such as creating safer routes to schools and creating pedestrian friendly urban centres; and
- Creating stronger links between land use and public transport planning such as ensuring walking and cycling infrastructure is incorporated into new developments.
As a first step in improving services, the government has partnered with the University of Tasmania to trial a high frequency Metro 'Turn Up & Go' service on the Mowbray corridor between the Launceston CBD and the Newnham Campus.
The trial, which began on 23 February, will deliver bus services every 15 minutes between 8am and 6pm on weekdays and will also improve Saturday services.
Comment is invited on the draft Greater Launceston Metropolitan Passenger Transport Plan until 10 April 2015. More information is available from the Department of State Growth website at <http://www.stategrowth.tas.gov.au/greater-launceston>.