In an open letter, One Nation MLC Colin Tincknell has blasted the State Government on the lack of public transport to Scarborough’s $100 million foreshore redevelopment.
Last week I saw some comments on the public transport and tourism in Perth, yet no links are ever made between to two.
Natalie Richards commented that using public transport for the first time in a long time was a confusing and somewhat off putting experience.
Several people disagreed and wrote in to state that public transport in Perth is convenient and practical.
If you are familiar with Perth’s public transport system and live close to a train station or frequent bus service, it can be fantastic.
You know when trains and buses run most frequently, what the rules are and how to get from A to B.
But there are major gaps in the services our public transport system provides, there are routes that have not been updated for decades, and Perth is segregated by train lines, not interconnected, which is one justification for why Metronet is being rolled out so fast.
Currently, bus and train services in Perth are designed to get people to and from train stations then in and out of the CBD, Monday to Friday, with services diminishing on weekends.
This is understandable when servicing the Monday to Friday, 9-5 workers heading in and out of the city, but there are virtually no considerations or adjustments made for tourist locations and other destination locations where visitor numbers increase on weekends, public holidays and school holidays.
And as Natalie goes on to point out, what if you aren’t familiar with the system?
Is the system easy and convenient to understand and use?
This is where tourism comes into play.
All tourists are novices to our public transport system.
How user-friendly it is compared to other Australian cities and those across the world is a reflection on Perth and our desirability as a travel destination.
The last thing you want is tourists not being able to get to tourist destinations, going home and saying, “Perth was beautiful, but what a nightmare to get around”.
One of the biggest tourist drawcards to our city is our sunset coastline, yet there are no longer any buses that service the coast.
It’s about a 10km drive straight down West Coast Highway to get from Cottesloe Beach to Scarborough Beach.
It shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes by car, 15 by bus.
But there is no bus.
I find it ludicrous that in Perth you are unable to catch a bus up and down West Coast Highway to visit any of our spectacular beaches.
To a destination like Scarborough, a coastal bus service is vital to both tourist and local visitor numbers.
Scarborough has always been a popular entertainment precinct and beach location made even more so by inclusion of a Olympic size swimming pool as part of the recent $100 million redevelopment.
However to make room for all the new facilities, parking was cut by 30 per cent, but now more people want to visit.
This has made Scarborough a victim of it’s own success.
Scarborough’s parking situation is already an issue that needs addressing.
One way to address it is the public transport that services Scarborough.
People are being encouraged to catch public transport, but the transport just isn’t there.
In the 18 months prior to the redevelopment being completed, the previous Government cancelled the only two bus routes that serviced Scarborough from the north and south.
When I asked about this in Question Time, I was told it was cancelled due to lack of patronage.
One service in question, the 381 from Fremantle, only ran five times a day and didn’t run on the weekends at all.
No wonder no one used it!
The schedule did not meet the demand.
Now Scarborough is only accessible from the east, via Scarborough Beach Road.
So if you live less than 5km away to the north or south in City Beach or Trigg, there is no bus service that can get you down the one of the major roads leading to a major entertainment precinct, to which you live so close.
You’re expected to go out to the city via two buses and a train.
There’s been talk of a light rail down to Scarborough one day, but this will never happen if people don’t use the bus services enough to justify the cost of construction.
People will not use the buses if they are not there at the right times.
The routes that do currently service the Scarborough area are once again designed to get people to and from the city.
One example is the 410 bus.
Every weekday there are eight services that leave Scarborough Beach before the first one even arrives at 8:45am.
As the first arrival of the day, this is too late for most hospitality workers or early morning pool attendants to utilise in order to get to work on time.
Yet, even with the increased facilities in Scarborough (thus more staff to working there) staff considerations have not been taken into account in any way shape or form.
There is no staff parking allocation at all and many staff need to leave mid-shift in order to move their car and comply with the 2 to 4 hour parking restrictions.
This does not make for the smooth running of a hospitality business.
Scarborough is set to see more development in the near future and the McGowan Government has been keen to highlight the all the benefits the new 3 Oceans Development will bring to the area.
But judging by lack of understanding and consultation around the issues resulting from the first stage of development, I am not confident the MRA, PTA, State Government and the City of Stirling have coordinated sufficiently and fully thought out the impact of changes that a development of that size will have on the area.