Snapshots from commuter hell

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Local residents who commute west towards the city each morning have been invited to document their trip to work by taking selfies during their journey.

As part of the first National Nightmare Commute Day on Tuesday 7 June, road users will take part in a social media campaign to alert politicians of the “chronic” road and public transport problems commuting from outer suburbia.

Those affected are urged to take a selfie at the beginning, middle and end of their morning commutes – detailing how long the journey takes – and to share it on Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #FundOurFutureAU.

“We want people to take a safe selfie before they start their commute and at the end of their commute, if it is safe to do so or if they are on public transport they can take one in the middle of their commute as well,” a Fund Our Future spokesperson said.

“Fund our future created National Nightmare Commute Day because we realise that there are particular issues around commuting in the outer suburbs and we know that the politicians need to hear the voices of the five million people who live nationally in the outer suburbs.

“We urge people to document their trip to show politicians just how severe the commuting problems are in outer growth areas and that something really needs to be done.”

City of Casey mayor Sam Aziz, who is the Victorian spokesperson of the National Growth Areas Alliance (NGAA), encouraged Casey-Cardinia residents to take part.

“The stories about stress, congestion and frustration with our roads and public transport are the same in outer suburbs around the country,” Cr Aziz said.

“People are sick of spending countless hours in the car or waiting for trains.

“Unfortunately it is our residents who are paying the price of poor leadership and foresight. Successive federal governments have failed to fund and build the infrastructure that fast-growing areas like ours, on the outskirts of our cities, need and deserve.”

RMIT University professor Jago Dodson, who was recently part of a panel discussion on cities and growth at Parliament House, said the distribution of employment and services is “highly uneven” in outer suburbs.

About five million Australians currently lived in outer suburbs and townships across the country such as Cardinia Shire. By 2031, these numbers are predicted to swell to 7.5 million people.

“The development of suburban employment clusters and improving transport and spatial accessibility to employment and services are really important objectives to push on,” Mr Dodson said.

“Fast-growing outer suburbs are a major contributor to the national economy, but don’t get their fair share of funding for roads, public transport and health facilities.

“We can do the shiny, big-picture stuff like Metros and tunnels in the inner city, but resolving the problems in suburbs is critical to an urban policy that can support successful cities.”

The NGAA and Casey-Cardinia councils have supported the Fund Our Future campaign, which calls for a national fund to address infrastructure problems in outer suburban, rapid growth areas.

The campaign has received almost 50,000 submissions since its launch three months ago.

Residents are encouraged to take part in the Fund our Future campaign by signing and sharing the petition at http://www.fundourfuture.info/act-now

Originally published at Pakenham Gazette.

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About Alana Mitchelson

Alana Mitchelson is a journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Follow her on Twitter at @AlanaMitchelson.

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