With the train station at Cockburn Central packed with cars each day, plus with two years to go before the Aubin Grove train station is expected to be finished and on top of recent announcements that fee-free parking is set to be abolished next year, Curtin University’s Jemma Green said smaller buses could be the answer.
‘In Perth, we need to improve the bus system,’ she said. ‘For example, buses are currently all one size. But it doesn’t work to have huge buses carrying a few people from the outlying suburbs.’
‘In other countries, they have mini buses and mini van public transport to capture people from the outlying suburbs. We need to size the public transport to capture more people, reduce the cars on the road and reduce the demand for car parks.’
Despite Ms Green’s optimism for change, Public Transport Authority spokesman David Hynes said did not believe such a move was needed.
He said that while it was appealing on the surface, the mini bus concept had several big drawbacks, including the cost of purchasing a new fleet while the bigger buses went unused at off-peak times and time wasted when drivers returned to their depot to change buses.
‘Mini buses may be smaller in size than a standard bus, but when the cost of fuel, maintenance and labour are taken into account, the difference in operating costs is minimal,’ he said.
‘Further, mini buses do not lend themselves to being equipped with passenger access doorways and legally mandated safety and compliance features.’