SA needs more frequent and faster public transport options, with a digital focus

26 February, 2023

RAA would like to see a zero emissions public transport network driven by electrification, offering more frequent services through an integrated network with digital ticketing to drive patronage growth.

The state’s largest membership-based organisation is calling for improvements to the state’s public transport network to provide a better experience for commuters – from digital ticketing to increased frequency.

A survey of RAA members found that 73 per cent of them expect their frequency of public transport usage will remain the same or decrease over the next 12 months.

RAA Chief Executive Officer Nick Reade said delivering better public transport services was the only way to drive patronage growth, helping to reduce congestion on South Australia’s roads.

“Enticing more people to catch public transport will help alleviate pressure and congestion on our road network,” Mr Reade said.

“If more people catch a bus, train or tram – that means everyone spends less time in traffic – and that’s a win for motorists and public transport users.”

“We know that South Australia’s public transport network is one of the most underutilised of any capital city in the country.

“We asked our members what was stopping them hopping on a bus, train or tram and the feedback was pretty clear.

“Commuters want more frequent services, faster or express services and a cleaner and safer network.

“These are the challenges for the government to overcome to get more bums on seats.

“RAA is doing its part to improve commuters’ public transport experience through the RAA Go app.

The RAA Go app in action

“The RAA Go app is a one stop shop that will help commuters plan their journey, so they can get to where they want to go faster and don’t have to waste time waiting at train or bus stops.

“The current government has also made some improvements to the network, like continuing to roll out the tap and pay system improving the digital element of our network.

“This is a great step that’s being embraced by commuters but there’s still more work to do to refine and enhance the commuter experience.

“Digital ticketing could also be incorporated into apps like RAA Go – making it easier and more convenient for commuters to pay for the bus, train or tram.

“We’d also like to see more on demand bus services and active transport options for commuters, to help with the first and last mile problem.

“E-scooters are one great example of a first and last mile solution that helps people get to their bus, train or tram station and complements our public transport services.

“We need to build on these improvements if we really want to shift the needle and get more people on public transport.”

RAA CEO Nick Reade

Mr Reade said electrifying and decarbonising the public transport network would also reduce carbon emissions to help reach the net zero carbon targets and provide a cleaner, greener service.

“Transport accounts for about 19 per cent of carbon emissions, and public transport is not an insignificant part of that,” Mr Reade said.  

“RAA would like to see the electrification and decarbonisation of our entire public transport network over time, reducing our carbon footprint and delivering cleaner and greener service for commuters.

“Hydrogen and other renewable sources could also be part of that solution longer term as that technology continues to develop.”