Public transport. It used to mean transport systems and vehicles that were owned by the public, for use of the public.
Then somebody had the billiant idea of trying to turn it into a money spinner. That has failed tragically, unless you take into account the tax write-offs and income swapping between cost centres that multi-nationals do to keep profits and avoid paying their fair share of taxes. But today’s little effort goes beyond the pale.
Rein in concessions is an article about a report tabled by public transport providers group, that includes the Brumby Labor government.
ELIGIBILITY for concession fares on public transport should be drastically restricted or available only during off-peak times, to improve the profitability of trains, trams and buses, according to an influential transport lobby group – whose members include the Brumby government.
No one’s forgetting that there was terrible trouble keeping trains and trams running on time during the cain and Kirner years. No one’s forgetting that privatising the system was supposed to fix all that. At issue is the fact that public transport is for transporting human beings and providing constructive alternatives to endless increases in car traffic, pollution and land wasted under road surfaces and parking lots.
This is quite like the utilities issue. Companies buy up services then whinge about not making a profit. If they didn’t want to provide public services, why buy into public services? What’s the reasoning in that? Funny how much of Australia’s utilities are now owned or part owned by the Singapore Government. It wasn’t viable for Australia’s government to own and run services used by the Australian people, but it’s okay for Singapore to do so. Funny how that “free-market” works. By any normal standard it would be simply dysfunctional.
Free-market thinking seems to make the economy and big business the be all and end all of human occupation. Money and work are taken completely out of context in the human experience and the balance of our lives is marginalised or eliminated from value. In reality, there is much, much more to life than work. All the things we do outside of a cubicle are what makes it worth it, friends, family, recreation, education… business is only part of a whole network of human and community life.
Originally utilities, telecommunications and public transport were about providing a stable platform on which families and communities could grow, live and yes work. Somehow this has become twisted in the last three or four decades and communities serve only as hosts to multi-national parasites sucking the life out of them for profit.
Rein in concessions? No. How about we rein in big business and self-serving government and get back to basics. Providing sustainable and constructive services for the community.