I have a theory.
I think young people in Melbourne find a lot of their travel needs are met by public transport. They get the train to school, uni, work. They get the tram to head out at night. They have a bike that they use. They may even get a bus down the coast every now and then.
But then a strange type of trip starts cropping up in their schedule, and they can’t do it by PT. Maybe they need to get to a relative’s house that’s far away. Could be they’ve got a new job that requires them to be there before the trams start. Or they’ve started surfing and they want to go down the coast a lot. Whatever the reason, they get tipped over the edge to buy a car by this one trip.
Then, everything changes. The car just works out being easier. The 10 x 2-hour ticket is much less seen. The bike rusts. :(
If my theory is right, more half-empty late-night train services, and more trains to places that people don’t often go to (cross-town / the coast / the airport), could dramatically decrease that first-car purchase. This would lock in the punters to catching the tram/train/bus a lot more.
People look at half-empty buses and see them as a waste, but they are part of a bigger ‘system’, and if they stop people buying a car, they may have a purpose.
Young people are the obvious target for being ‘locked in’. In some ways, that fact that young people can’t drive until they are eighteen is excellent for public transport. It gives a big group of people who are not irrationally biased against PT and would consider continuing to use it if it met their needs cheaply.
So, I would like to do some research here: why did you buy your first car?
For a specific kind of trip?
For the general sense that you needed one?
To impress the ladies with your sick mag wheels?
And did having a car cut into trips you were previously happy to do on PT?
Pop your answers below!
Personally, my first (and current) car is a distinctly crappy 1988 Hyundai Excel (see above), which I obtained for free, from a relative. I got it, and got my driver’s license, because I had no other way to get from Canberra, where I was living, to Perisher, where I was skiing each weekend. The first Monday after I got my license I rode my bike to work, telling myself I would not start becoming a driving commuter. Then I drove every day for the next two years…