Hands up all those who love the RTA
Former roads minister David Borger commissioned the RTA survey . . . “you could be incredibly frustrated about the pace of change”.
Former roads minister David Borger commissioned the RTA survey . . . “you could be incredibly frustrated about the pace of change”. Photo: Dean Sewell
IT IS the equivalent of the big bad wolf entering a popularity contest. The Roads and Traffic Authority is spending more than $1 million to find out how unpopular it is.
On taking power, the O’Farrell government pledged to overturn the culture of the organisation. But even before the change of government, the RTA approved $1.04 million worth of focus groups and phone polling to gauge what people think of it.
And the answers are not likely to be pretty. ”It was appalling,” said one person who sat in on a group this week.
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Illustration: Cathy Wilcox
”There was a 0-10 scale of what do you like about the RTA on 20 different facets and I think the highest rating they got was three out of 10,” he said.
”It got really quite vitriolic.”
One man who thinks the organisation could do with an overhaul is its former boss, David Borger, who commissioned the survey.
Asked for his views, Mr Borger, the roads minister in the Keneally government, said: ”I did find the RTA was still a fairly inward-looking organisation.
”There were some people who were very good. Equally, at times you could be incredibly frustrated about the pace of change.”
As one example of its obstinacy, Mr Borger said that despite his repeated requests, the RTA did not move old toll-booth structures that still sit on the M4.
”No matter how many times I asked, I just had no sense that they really gave a shit about the issue … That was incredibly frustrating because it was an issue the public was concerned about and the RTA wasn’t.”
Mr Borger said one change the RTA should make was to better involve and listen to councils about traffic issues.
The Roads Minister, Duncan Gay, said the RTA had hired PricewaterhouseCoopers to run focus groups and online and telephone surveys of 6000
But he is concerned at the cost of the exercise, and wants the RTA to provide proof the study was worth it.
“The RTA has long had a poor public image and I believe this has largely been due to a lack of customer service focus within the department,” Mr Gay said.
Mr Gay said the RTA would release the findings publicly.