Getting around becomes easier in Knox

During Knox's early years, growth exceeded the provision of public transport and created long term problems for residents and Council.

Director Service Planning, Ian Mann, said this has left a legacy of high dependence on car ownership. "For young people, the elderly and single vehicle families this means there are insufficient options for independent mobility," he said. "When we conducted our community planning day, one of the principal themes to emerge was the need for better public transport in the area, in particular for young people."

Having identified the issue, Council undertook a community consultative process to establish ways in which this situation might be alleviated. This led to the setting up of a Public Transport Consultative Committee which reports to Council on transport issues.

"Clearly Council itself cannot solve all the issues of better public transport," Ian Mann said. "However, we have been able to tackle aspects of public transport provision to alleviate some problems. "We identified the major public transport issues as being insufficient service, lack of safety on public transport, too few linkages and infrequency of services."

Council is advocating, both on an individual and regional basis, for an extended rail network into the south of the municipality and an increase in other services.

In the meantime, it has entered a partnership agreement with an advertising company to provide more and better lit bus shelters across the City. Under this agreement the company provides the bus shelters and in return gains space for its back lit advertisements.

Other initiatives include negotiating with bus companies to adjust routes so bus stops are more accessible and safer to reach. A telebus service addresses the problem of poor interconnectivity. Residents within designated zones can telephone for a doorstop pickup by the telebus which then takes them to interchanges with major transport routes.

Ian Mann said the issue of interconnectivity is also being tackled by issuing better timetable information and through Council negotiating with transport companies to introduce synchronised timetables for more convenient connections between different modes of transport.

Recognising that transport problems are shared with residents in neighbouring municipalities, Knox has also taken on a role of regional leadership on this issue.

The City has promoted establishing a Regional Public Transport Forum to identify common issues and engender greater lobbying potential.