Friday, 7 March 2008

A most unusual apology - VOTE

Maybe it's a green thing. Maybe the transport 'guys' see their big buses, trains and timetables and not the social and environmental importance of public transport, especially to our ageing population. Maybe State Transit has a sense of humour I don't get.

But after they admitted to the media I was travelling legally - after I was arrested, I received two penalty notices in the post totalling $300. The first for 'passenger take animal on bus without permission' (um, they even published I had obtained permission), $100, and 'passenger not leave vehicle when directed.' $200. That's right, this girl had a ticket to ride, let's call that a CONTRACT, and I was holding them to their contract. Place your bet: Will the CCTV have been working in this new bus when I was arrested? Vote Yes. Vote No.

Silly! That's all I can say; what a silly waste of time and resources from so many people. There was no problem, no noise, no violence, no disruption to any travellers until the transit police emptied the bus and (the Burwood police came and removed that passenger who had the contract to travel). Click on the photo above to read State Transit's report on making transport accessible to the majority of the community - that's the 40% "majority" who don't have pets, I presume. They even refer to the State Plan on their home page, like we do in our draft policy; we have common ground!

I'm going on a bit about this because it's been over two weeks and my wrist is still sore and strapped up from big boy police officers who interpreted my reaching over to unhook dog lead from bus and collect by bags as 'resisting arrest', and who felt the need to hang on and pull handcuffs that were so gently (ha) applied. Also, members are STILL being hassled by bus operators, although finally today the reports from members travelling has been positive. One even got a free ride, but we won't tell anyone about that.

We're moving ahead with our call to the Federal Government to announce a national transport strategy for pets on public transport. The policy is a copy of the current policy in London - why can they do it, and why haven't we? Please write your support for this policy to your local Federal Member and to the Minister for Transport, Anthony Albanese.