21st century upgrade call – Belgrave and Lilydale lines

September 20th, 2010 (Election 2010, Media releases, Melbourne east)

Passengers on the Lilydale and Belgrave lines beyond Ringwood are receiving train services that are below urban standards according to the Public Transport Users Association (PTUA). In the off-peak, services beyond Ringwood operate half-hourly, compared with every 15 minutes between the city and Ringwood.

Peak hour services also finish very early at just after 8am in Belgrave, potentially inconveniencing commuters who work irregular hours or outside the CBD (in places such as Ringwood or Box Hill).

“There is absolutely no reason to believe that people living beyond Ringwood deserve poorer public transport services,” said Jeremy Lunn, the PTUA’s Outer East Convenor. “Both these lines are supported by a good urban population and residents deserve much better than what they are currently receiving.”

The PTUA has called for off-peak services to be upgraded immediately to a minimum 20 minute service in the daytime and evenings, seven days-a-week. A further upgrade to a minimum 10 minute service would bring train services up to 21st century standard.

“There are a lot of people travelling in the daytime including part time workers, shift workers and students. They don’t deserve to have a large chunk of their day taken away, waiting half an hour for a train, just because the government doesn’t find it convenient to run more trains.”

The Frankston line is an example of another line that receives a 15 minute service in the daytime off-peak right to the end. Frankston is 42.7 kilometres from the city, while Beligrave is 41.3 kilometres. The Alamein and Glen Waverley lines also provide a 15 minute service, while the Werribee line was recently upgraded to a 10 minute service in the off-peak.

Mr Lunn said that residents of the outer east also miss out on many evening trains that leave Flinders Street between 8pm and 10pm. Every second train terminates at Ringwood with no connecting train through to Belgrave or Lilydale.

“So anyone with meetings after work will suddenly find themselves with a longer wait for the train home, if they live beyond Ringwood. Likewise, many people like to meet friends and go out for dinner after work, say in the city, Box Hill or Ringwood. They also face a longer wait for the train.”

Mr Lunn also reiterated calls for the single track section of the line to be duplicated. He said that it limits the number of services available for Belgrave and that delays can have a flow on effect disrupting the whole train network.

“These are the kind of changes that are needed to bring public transport services up to a 21st century standard.”