Is Public transport all about habit? / by Kian West

For all you regular readers you have no doubt read a previous rant of mine about public transport here in Newcastle. I'm a big believer in the infrastructure currently being invested in. 
This week I was reading a NextCity article about public Transport in America, Seattle is planning to give local school students travel passes that run a full year instead of the current model of being for the school months. 
While this plan would see the company lose millions of dollars within the year, it is believed that this is a long-term theory that would create a habit within young people to use these transport options rather than opt for a car in the future. 

Is this all that Newcastle is missing? 


Really, is that where things have gone wrong across the state with the implementation of the Opal card? A system that is (I assume) designed to make it easier to use public transport has actually become a barrier for people that aren't regular users. I've heard several comments from friends that didn't know what to do so just drive to places rather than find an Opal card and work it out. I'm betting that these same people all have smartphones and if an app was easy to download, activate and use, they would have all been capable of making the change.

Is Public transport all about habit?

With this question in mind, it is easy to just start to ignore the 40+-year-olds complaining about how the train-line (I'm betting they didn't use) should have stayed where it was and how crazy it is that light rail should run down Hunter Street...blah blah blah...fig trees. 
Forget about them. The culture shifts over time and the opportunity appear to be the University (and maybe some key employers) to provide this kind of service for students and this creates a habit they use beyond their time studying in the city. Not only that, think of all the data you capture, the captive market on the transport that you could use to market to key demographics... oh boy, it could even be profitable... 

If public transport in Newcastle is all about habit if that's all it really is anywhere, why aren't we helping to create the habit? 

Right now is the biggest opportunity this city has had around this in decades.
The light rail is about to open along Hunter Street from the interchange into the city.
It will be incredibly exciting to ride and enjoy this new transport mode.
We have Bykko hubs scattered across the city.
Many of the best cultural hubs are now within walking and easily accessible public transport solutions. Now is the time to get excited about the city.


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