FoE Melbourne's Sustainable Cities collective are coordinating a national week of action for transport equity from 17-23 September this year.
What is Transport Equity Week?
Inspired by ‘Transit Equity Day’ in the U.S, Transport Equity Week is a week of action to elevate the voices of those facing transport disadvantage and communicate these stories to the general public, to demand action from local, state and federal governments to improve transport equity in people’s lives.
We believe that public transport is for everyone, and that all in our communities should have access to public transport, including walking and cycling, that is safe, affordable, reliable and powered by clean renewable energy.
Electrification of our transport network needs to be rooted in a just transition, away from fossil fuels in the transport sector, as we aim to ensure that those working across the transport sector in manufacturing, maintenance and operation of transport vehicles are guaranteed safe and equitable outcomes in the shifting landscape of production in Australia.
During the week of September 18-24th, we are coordinating with local groups, organisations, unions and others to hold or participate in actions to demonstrate how our broken transport system is affecting people’s everyday lives. Local groups can develop asks that represent their own needs, directed toward local, state or federal governments to demand changes that will increase equitable transport outcomes, lower emissions and lead us into a more equitable and climate just future.
How do you organise an action?
Each local action will shape up differently, depending on the needs of the community. A local advocacy group could petition council for a bike path or pedestrian crossing in a particular area, or organise a rally demanding that the state government improve bus services. Some may be held by drivers at their workplaces to demand better working conditions, or perhaps by a group of parents to demonstrate the lack of bus stop infrastructure leaving their children waiting in the sweltering heat or biting cold.. Whatever it is, think about the local context in your community, who is being affected by it, and what needs to change.
Start by reaching out to people in your community who are most impacted by transport disadvantage, and find out what is needed to change the system, and improve people’s access to essential services.
Actions can range in size, and will depend on what you/ your group have capacity for. The working group will be here for support and to answer any questions.
What could actions look like?
As this is the first Transport Equity Week in Australia, there are no examples of actions done for this particular event. However, we have shared below some examples of actions from Transit Equity Day in the U.S, as well as local actions undertaken by groups in Australia who are already working toward transport equity.
- Buffalo Snow Shovel by We are Women Warriors, Buffalo Transit Riders United, the Coalition for Economic Justice and the Buffalo Mutual Aid Network.
- New York City - Parents to Improve School Transportation
- ‘Bus Marathons’ by Friends of the Earth Melbourne’s Sustainable Cities collective and Point Cook Action Group (Melbourne)
- ‘Busted Bus Stops’ photo collection by Sweltering Cities (Sydney)
What are we asking for?
We are calling on local, state, territory and federal governments in Australia to commit to improving transport equity by:
- Providing transport systems that are safe, accessible, sustainable, reliable, convenient, comfortable and affordable for all, regardless of socioeconomic status, race, gender, ability, age, religion, sexuality or mode of transport
- A commitment from state and federal governments to invest 50% of their transport budgets to public transport and 20% to active transport, as recommended by the Climate Council, to bring Australia’s transport system up to world class standards. We need reliable and frequent public transport services that people will be able to use, in all areas of each city including outer suburban areas, as well as in rural and regional areas and any areas where forced car dependency is a growing issue.
- Ensuring safety and security of transport workers, including at least minimum wage, good work conditions, entitlements and respect and care in the workplace
- Ensuring that all public transport is 100% accessible for people with disabilities, elderly people and any person with mobility issues so that our opportunities for participation in society are equitable and just
- Investing in clear communication and consultation with communities to keep people informed of transport changes across all modes (including maintenance), incorporate community needs and views in transport planning processes, and encourage uptake in active and public transport use
- Rapidly transitioning to electric buses and reform of bus networks to increase access to public transport in the immediate term while other modes of public transport like trams and trains are built.
How do I get involved?
To register an action, join the organising working group, or to be put on our mailing list, fill out our expression of interest form.
If you have any questions, or want to chat about anything related to Transport Equity, you can email us at: