Let's make fares a carrot and a stick for bus company
Letters to the Editor
Rather than using fares as an incentive/disincentive for passengers (''Bus fares up 5 per cent, but promise of a better service'', January 15, p1), we should instead structure them as an incentive for the operator to provide a better bus service.
If a service is acceptably frequent (one bus every 15 minutes or better), a fare should be payable.
One bus every half-hour is free.
For very infrequent services (one an hour or worse), the passenger receives a credit equal to one fare, credited to their MyWay card on tagging off.
Since Canberra has a flat-fare system, transfers are free, except that if any transfer to a very infrequent service involves a wait of more than 15 minutes, an extra credit is paid.
Having to pay passengers for lousy service might provide an incentive to provide a better one.
David Walker, Ainslie
Paul Mees is right on the money when he says too much is spent on Canberra roads (''Transport failure 'spectacular','', January 15, p1). Road spending should be redirected towards public transport and health (spend some time in a Canberra hospital emergency ward if in doubt). Most frustrating of all to us drivers is that, so often, road spending is unnecessary and counterproductive, causing more traffic rather than less.
Let's have some leadership please to break this entrenched pattern.
A. Lewis, Higgins
The Canberra Times says Action Buses' fares are rising by 5 per cent, and the editorial on the same day (January 15) says: ''It's a small amount.'' Unfortunately, for frequent travellers, this is not true. I catch the bus to work every weekday and my monthly cost is going to increase by more than 16 per cent - because the monthly cap is increasing at the same time. This is not mentioned in the article, and is the last point on the Action website.
Why is Action increasing costs for regular customers by such a large percentage? What extra level of services will we get for the increase?
Ian Crawford, Chisholm
R.S.Gilbert asks how many residents in North Canberra I consulted in drafting my letter on over-scale exempt developments (Letters, January 14).
My answer: a considerably greater number than the number of residents who must be consulted before such developments are built.
Hint: the latter is a round number, a very round number.
Mike Hettinger, deputy chairman, North Canberra Community Council
R.S.Gilbert questions the level of consultation conducted by the Inner South Canberra Community Council in forming its views on the appropriateness of new housing developments.
The council is a federation of seven local residents groups and our public positions are arrived at only after extensive discussion and consultation.
Following the publication of my letter, we have had hundreds of supportive telephone calls and emails.
We respect Gilbert's sustained contribution to Canberra's planning debate over many years in The Canberra Times letters pages and look forward to a robust exchange of views with him and other interested Canberrans on these important matters.
Gary Kent, chairman, Inner South Canberra Community Council
R.S.Gilbert is a practical man, but he obviously lacks any kind of aesthetic sense. How he can prefer the appearance of a McMansion to that of a lovely old Deakin home is utterly beyond me.
Michael McCarthy, Deakin
Lights are life
Peter J. Cook (Letters, January 15) is horrified that the lights at Manuka oval are a monstrous blight on the landscape because they destroy the village atmosphere of Manuka and make it into an industrial estate.
As Manuka is perhaps the wealthiest suburban area in the wealthiest city in Australia, anyone who does not live in Manuka must feel so sorry for these poor villagers.
As a former denizen of the northern Melbourne semi-industrial housing commission welfare estate of West Heidelberg, I look forward to getting down to the monstrous lights of the MCG once a year for Friday night footy.
A big crowd, excitement, atmosphere and coming alive under lights.
Half the crowd are instantly one's brothers and sisters for the night, depending on which team one barracks for. The stuff of adrenalin and camaraderie called living. Under lights.
The most exciting thing those Manuka villagers have to look forward to is a latte at the chocolate shop on a slow Sunday morning.
Blinded by the lights. Poor blighters.
John Bell, Lyneham
Recycling not vital
Cedric Mims (Letters, January 14), a retired professor of medical microbiology, sensibly backs Professor Peter Collignon's assessment of water recycling for Canberra (Letters, January 11).
If such technology is not necessary for Canberra at this point, then its adoption would only introduce potential hazards we don't need, and in addition waste resources, particularly energy.
While most cities that use recycled water don't have major outbreaks of disease attributable to filtration failures, let us not forget how safe nuclear reactors were meant to be prior to the nuclear accident at Fukushima. Recycled water might be safe, but only when procedures and machinery are 100 per cent foolproof all the time - a utopian vision entrusted to humans who in error or negligence keep repeating their blunders.
Meanwhile, why not continue doing what we have always done: sending our waste water downstream and allowing natural processes to improve water quality by the time it hits the next lot of users.
George Papadopoulos, Yass, NSW
I grew up in England and remember being told as a child, when I lived in Oxford and Bath, that the water I drank had been through seven people.
As a public health student at Manchester University in the late 1960s, I went on a field trip to the water-recycling works outside Manchester, and was very impressed as I was shown each tank in turn, following the progress of the treatment regime.
Eventually I was given a glass of beautifully clear and tasty water from the final tank.
For years, Australians have gone to Britain for holidays, and many, like me, originate from there, and we are none the worse from drinking the water.
Of course processes can be continually improved, but the approach is essential with the increased population on our planet.
Caroline Fitzwarryne, Yarralumla
Women as efficient
I don't understand Adrian Dunlop's (Letters, January 14) concept of ''productivity''.
I understand productivity to be a measurement of outputs or outcomes of work. For example, a part-time worker who works 25 hours a week and produces 25/40 (or more) of the full-time expected output is as least as productive as a full-time worker.
Productivity is not dependent on a worker's potential as a manager, nor on the number of years a person works.
In fact, I do not see how a woman taking time off in her 20s or 30s to have and/or raise children, is in any way less productive than a man working the same number of years in one industry or organisation and then moving elsewhere.
Right now, women with children deservedly reach senior positions, and combine careers with child-rearing.
Westpac's chief executive, Gail Kelly, has triplets; renowned burns doctor Fiona Wood has six children.
I have no doubt their experiences as mothers, and as women trying to organise a household, has added to their management skills rather than diminished them.
Of necessity, women with children develop good time-management skills and skills in managing children, both valuable for managers.
Equal pay has always had to be fought for, probably because of people with attitudes like Dunlop's.
I sincerely hope he does not ascribe to a view prevalent in the 1960s, that women's brains drained away with the amniotic fluid and never returned.
Jennifer Bradley, McKellar
I think Bill Deane and John Bell are being rather too cynical about Tony Abbott's motives for his involvement in community work (Letters, January 15).
They should know that Abbott was quietly involved in charity work, active in the SES and was teaching indigenous children well before he was the Opposition Leader.
It is a common complaint that our politicians fail to provide the leadership and example we deserve, yet when Abbott does precisely the right thing, we are quick to denigrate his efforts.
It seems a classic case of damned if you do and damned if you don't.
H. Ronald, Jerrabomberra, NSW
Enmity is recent
J. Halgren's letter (January 14) has no basis in fact, history or culture.
Palestine is named after the Philistines, who occupied the area before the Jews.
The Arabs, who came in the 7th century AD and are now represented by Hamas and Fatah, had little reason to hate the Jews until Zionism began to gain ground in the 19th century.
The 1500 years of anti-Semitism that Halgren refers to is a Christian, not a Muslim, phenomenon.
Michael McCarthy, Deakin
To the point
MOYLAN TO THE POINT
In a democracy (plutocracy?) as privileged as Australia, with high education levels and a free press and academia, it is an enigma that only Jonathan Moylan is prepared to risk all in stating that ''Cutting fossil-fuel emissions will stop more fires and floods'' (January 14, p9).
Albert M. White, Queanbeyan, NSW
DANGER FOR ALL TO SEE
I agree with Roger Quarterman (Letters, January 15). I would have thought two weeks of an increasing blanket of smoke might have adequately warned of fire danger. And the rain of black leaves from 11am on the day of the firestorm.
Paul McElligott, Aranda
SEX ABUSE CONTINUES
''The royal commission investigating what happened when there was sexual abuse of children in institutions'' is about as far as I got into the editorial (January 14). Last November, Detective Chief Inspector Peter Fox, whose revelations created the commission, said: ''And it's still happening.''
Gary J. Wilson, MacGregor
SYRIA SANCTIONS HIT HARD
Partly as a result of the US-led brutal sanctions (which means Australia's as well), 4 million people in Syria today are in need of humanitarian aid. There are also 637,958 registered refugees inside Syria. We accept refugees by the thousands but follow these US-initiated sanctions as with Iran, Iraq (two million resulting deaths), Afghanistan, Korea, Cuba (40 years of sanctions) and on it goes. Sanctions are now endemic to Australia's foreign policy and history has taught us nothing.
Rex Williams, Ainslie
BRING ON THE TABLOID
My butler will be happy when The Canberra Times changes to tabloid form. He will not need to iron the broadsheet direct-delivery copies before they can be read. They are presently delivered in bad shape because the Times print office is unwilling to fix the problem.
Keith Croker, Kambah
JUST ANOTHER PRISON
The phrase used by some in the US that best describes the Alexander Maconochie Centre is ''warehouse prison''. Until the centre is run as a place for rehabilitation and not a prison like it is now, no one's human rights will be protected. If the powers controlling the direction of the centres do not want a human-rights compliant centre, they should change its name to reflect it being a prison.
Damon Adams, LEAP Australia
BARD TO THE FORE AGAIN
We Shakespeare readers always knew we were pretty damn smart (''Bard lights up the brain when self-help guides are dark,'' January 14, p3).
Olle Ziege, Kambah
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Send from the message ﬁeld, not as an attached ﬁle. Fax: 6280 2282. Mail: Letters to the Editor, The Canberra Times, PO Box 7155, Canberra Mail Centre, ACT 2610.
Keep your letter to 250 words or less. References to Canberra Times reports should include date and page number. Letters may be edited. Provide phone number and full home address (suburb only published).