GAMES A GREAT CHANCE TO EM­BRACE PUB­LIC TRANS­PORT

Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin - - OPINION -

FOR­GIVE me for tout­ing the Gold Coast 2018 Com­mon­wealth Games as the “Pub­lic Trans­port Games” but it re­ally is.

It is no se­cret I am pas­sion­ate about the role pub­lic trans­port plays in build­ing in­te­grated and sus­tain­able com­mu­ni­ties. So as we an­tic­i­pate the le­gacy of GC2018, I hope it’s one where the Gold Coast has a greater ap­pre­ci­a­tion for its world­class trans­port sys­tem.

While some may view the Games as a dis­rup­tion to their nor­mal lives, I en­cour­age them to take the op­por­tu­nity to em­brace lo­cal trans­port – some prob­a­bly for the first time.

With buses, trams and trains op­er­at­ing at dou­ble time, there’s prob­a­bly no bet­ter time to do so.

Whether it is to get to work, or to ex­plore the myr­iad of ac­tiv­i­ties on offer as the city comes alive, I hope peo­ple dis­cover a new ap­pre­ci­a­tion for this vi­tal piece of so­cial in­fra­struc­ture.

I hon­estly be­lieve we have one of the best bus net­works in Aus­tralia and more peo­ple should be us­ing it. Fol­low­ing the Mayor’s an­nounce­ment of a new bike-share scheme this week, come Games time peo­ple could even run a trans­port triathlon if they wish – light-rail, bus and bike.

How­ever, the ap­pre­ci­a­tion I’d re­ally love to see from the com­mu­nity is for the hun­dreds of pub­lic trans­port work­ers who ev­ery day help peo­ple com­mute to school and work, ac­cess es­sen­tial ser­vices, and ex­plore the re­gion.

These peo­ple are our neigh­bours, our fam­i­lies, and our friends – and this is why it as­tounds me that they are still dis­re­spected in the course of their daily jobs.

It is well pub­li­cised the amount of youths and free load­ers who evade fares on Gold Coast trans­port – and I’m tired of fronting up to me­dia ev­ery time a Surf­side bus is tar­geted by fools throw­ing rocks.

It is high time we, as a com­mu­nity, took re­spon­si­bil­ity for our ac­tions and showed pride in our pub­lic trans­port. Some­thing as small as say­ing “hi” next time you board a bus makes a huge dif­fer­ence.

As we wel­come a raft of in­ter­na­tional sport­ing tal­ent in April, I’m equally ex­cited about the chal­lenge of mo­bil­is­ing an un­prece­dented num­ber of vis­i­tors to the Gold Coast.

There is no doubt trans­port will come un­der strict scru­tiny through­out this pe­riod, but I’m qui­etly con­fi­dent our sys­tem will stack up well on the in­ter­na­tional stage.

I know for a fact my driv­ers are proud to be part of this once-in- a-life­time event – and they’ll be driv­ing for gold just as hard as our Aussie ath­letes.

I just hope the Gold Coast com­mu­nity gets be­hind them with the same level of sup­port and pride in what they achieve.

I HON­ESTLY BE­LIEVE WE HAVE ONE OF THE BEST BUS NET­WORKS IN AUS­TRALIA AND MORE PEO­PLE SHOULD BE US­ING IT

MARTIN HALL

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