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Compared with the other seven Australian states and territories,
South Australia has the fifth largest youth population with individuals
aged under 24 years making up six per cent of the total state figure.
However in regional areas the youth population is much greater,
making up 33 per cent of the total regional population within the
state (ABS Census, 2001).
Youth and transport is becoming an issue gaining increasing attention.
Road fatalities and risk taking behaviour has brought a focus on
youth and transport although it is a much larger issue. Within regional
South Australia, youth have been identified as a key group that
experience transport disadvantage. Limiting factors include age
for example not being old enough to get a drivers license, lack
of confidence to drive or use public transport, lack of residual
income, isolation from transport corridors and the lack of public
Although youth are not a homogeneous group, meaning they have varying
needs, they essentially require access to school, work experience,
further education, employment, recreation, social, religious and
cultural activities. Many youth, particularly in areas where there
is a lack of services or ability to access these services miss out
on essential services and opportunities.
Transport is also not just about access but an expression of identity.
Transport gives independence and enables people to make choices
about where and when they want to travel and what they want to participate
in. It can give a sense of self-esteem and achievement and represent
a symbol of success and adulthood.
INTEGRATED TRANSPORT PLANS (ITPs)
The Public Transport Services Division (OPT) has a vision for integrated
transport. Regardless of who you are, transport should be available
and appropriate to community need. Whilst it is not possible to
meet every need, the OPT has been working towards integrating transport
needs and existing resources into packages of services to avoid
duplication of service provision and maximise services for communities.
This approach relies on working together across government departments
and non-government organisations involved in transport provision.
The Integrated Transport Plans are based on Integrated Transport
Studies which focus on the community identifying community need
and leadership of the process by local government.
Following a needs analysis, services are identified and developed
for inclusion in a package of services that is tendered for provision
by a commercial operator. This approach supports commercial operators
whilst meeting identified community need. Contracts are held with
the OPT to ensure appropriate contract management and specifications
requiring ongoing community consultation and service development
so that the services continue to change with the community needs.
INTEGRATING YOUTH TRANSPORT NEEDS
In recognising the disadvantages many youth experience with transport,
the ITPs seek to not only find out what youth want but also how
to best provide for their transport needs. As well as speaking to
youth through established groups such as schools and youth advisory
committees, a mix of services have been developed to reflect the
often irregular and changing travel needs of youth.
Services have been developed that provide both regular passenger
services such as feeders into key service centres and to link in
with existing transport services to Adelaide and unscheduled passenger
services that operate on a flexible basis. The unscheduled services
are pre-booked services primarily to social and recreational activities
for social inclusion purposes. They are determined between the operator
and local council and usually operate on a once a week basis. Regular
passenger services on the other hand operate on a regular basis
to a timetable and generally provide access to schools, shopping
and other facilities.
The importance of providing a mix of services and not just where
it would seem logical or most efficient is highlighted in the transport
needs of youth. For example, in regional areas it might seem adequate
to only have a service into the nearest key service centre. However
the need to travel to other centres and facilities is highlighted
if there is only one local doctor in that town centre and youth
and others feel inhibited to see someone they and their family know.
The need to provide options is especially important for youth who
generally have limited or no options.
The OPT recognises that the ITPs will not meet every need. Rather,
the ITPs are seen as a staged approach. The transport services are
designed to meet the obvious bulk community travel needs such as
key movements between and within towns, however as these services
are implemented it is expected that other needs will become more
obvious and new needs arise. This is particularly important for
youth who are given time to become familiar with the new services
and can begin to identify travel options.
A key challenge for the future is developing a system of avoiding
risk-taking behaviour such as drink-driving. This will include investigating
viable and affordable passenger transport alternatives.
Page last updated on
March 23, 2005