Perth businesses feel congestion pain

Second of annual surveys sees profitability and productivity impacts from traffic congestion in the city

September 23, 2013

Perth businesses continue to report profitability and productivity impacts from traffic congestion in the city.

With the State Government having just lost it AAA credit rating from agency Standard and Poor’s, its freedom for action in response might be curtailed, but the RAC BusinessWise-CCI Congestion Survey shows a large majority of Perth firms see congestion as a continuing burden.

While there might be a sliver of a silver lining, the report’s authors display little confidence in its existence in this, the second year of the survey.

"More than 400 small-to-medium size businesses contributed to the 2013 survey, which has revealed that 83 per cent believe traffic congestion is having a negative impact on their operations; a result virtually unchanged from the 2012 survey," they say.

"The majority of businesses (70 per cent) say their exposure to traffic congestion has increased over the past 12 months, down from a figure of 75 per cent in the 2012 survey.

"However comments from businesses suggest many are now simply factoring in increased congestion as ‘business as usual’, perhaps explaining, in part, the lower number."

Over the past 12 months, 97.3 per cent said traffic congestion had increased the time their workers spent on the roads, up from 90 per cent in 2012.

WA businesses are also facing higher fuel costs, lower productivity and the inability to take on more work.

"Alarmingly, nearly 80 per cent of respondents said congestion had added at least 10 hours per week to their time on the road over the past 12 months, up from 61% in 2012," the report says.

"One in five respondents said their workers were now spending more than 50 hours in additional time on the road."

The introduction of new intelligent technology to manage the existing road network (83.2 per cent) and more money spent to expand existing or build new roads (85.5 per cent) were also high priorities for business.

While more spending for public transport (57 per cent) was also supported, the introduction of toll roads, road user or congestion charges in comparison only received low levels of support.

As one business noted: "Toll roads and user charging will just increase the cost of transport thus increasing the price of goods in the most expensive city in Australia."

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