As of February 2015, the Eastern Suburbs / Outer East branch has been dissolved. We thank all those who have contributed over the years.
About the PTUA Outer East branch
Formed by local residents in 2004, the PTUA Outer East branch has been working towards making public transport a key issue for the outer east.
For many years, the outer east has been left behind with some of the most appalling levels of public transport services that can be seen across Melbourne.
The average bus services finishes at 6:53pm, while weekend public transport is almost non-existent. When public transport does run, the frequencies are so poor that are generally useless for anyone wanting to get somewhere in a hurry.
As residents of the outer east deserve better, the branch has been seeking to reverse this trend and to end the neglect. This can’t be achieved without the great assistance of those in the branch. If you’d like to become involved, please email outereastptua.org.au.
Without a network of fast, efficient and highly frequent buses there is no end to the public transport woes of the outer east. Likewise, it is critical that both the Rowville and Doncaster East railway lines are constructed to provide fast and convenient travel for people in these much-neglected areas.
There is also a need for more frequent services along the Belgrave and Lilydale lines beyond Ringwood and major service upgrades on the Pakenham and Cranbourne rail lines, which experience the worst suburban rail services in Melbourne.
The branch has organised these priorities into a number of campaigns to make best use of resources.
With the announcement of feasibility studies into Doncaster Area Rapid Transit (DART), public transport issues in this part of Melbourne are becoming quickly apparent. The branch has played in integral role in highlighting the public transport inadequacies in this area during the lead up to the announcement. Now it is time to ensure that the public transport needs for Doncaster including the heavy-rail line and much needed tram and bus improvements become a key component of the study.
Heavy rail is the only option that will have a significant impact on reducing car trips in the north-east and provide a decent alternative for residents in Manningham. Neither busway or light rail options along the Eastern Freeway will provide for the required capacity, while both are susceptible to delays at the city end of the route, especially with Melbourne’s current lack of priority for public transport vehicles. Light rail would result in a queue of trams down Bourke Street and operational costs would be far more costly than heavy rail. Finally, the busway would offer no clear advantage over the present freeway bus arrangement.
It is vital to ensure that we don’t repeat the same mistakes as Perth where a busway was constructed only to be replaced by a very successful railway line only years later.
It is also a priority of the branch to ensure that the importance of extending the route 48 tram to Doncaster Hill isn’t undermined. Even with a railway line, this extension is still needed as it would improve access to Doncaster from Kew East and Balwyn North, while also providing a linkage with the railway line when it is built.
Only public transport improvements will ensure that Doncaster achieves its vision as a premier activity centre in eastern Melbourne.
Getting SmartBus Moving
The Outer East branch sees SmartBus as a worthwhile initiative for the widespread rollout of frequency bus services on direct easy to understand routes with full traffic priority.
However, so far the Government has been acting at snails pace with the rollout of SmartBus, which currently only operates on three routes with another two routes set to commence in 2008. In other words, we haven’t even seen two routes upgraded to SmartBus per an election cycle.
With such a glacial pace it’ll be many years before Melbourne has a widespread SmartBus network.
The branch is pushing for a comprehensive network of SmartBus services covering Melbourne’s Outer East. Residents of the outer east are tired of waiting for that bus that doesn’t come.
Red Orbital SmartBus
The proposed red orbital SmartBus will connect Box Hill, Doncaster, Heidelberg and Northlands with a frequent and readily available bus service. Furthermore the continuation of the red orbital will connect Melbourne’s north east with Melbourne’s south east through connecting with the Warrigal Road SmartBus, providing travel to Holmesglen TAFE and Mentone.
Ringwood to Frankston (Stud Road) SmartBus
The PTUA Outer East Branch successfully campaigned for the funding of the Yellow Orbital, known as the Ringwood to Frankston SmartBus, which services to commence in 2008. The Outer East Branch will continue to campaign for an earlier introduction of the service, as well as a new route connecting Ringwood to Doncaster as an extension of this service.
As part of the overall SmartBus campaign outside of the orbital network Canterbury Road is one of the highest priorities. Despite being a major arterial, at present there are no continuous public transport services along this corridor. Although identified as part of the principle public transport network, the Government hasn’t made any announcements for a SmartBus route along this road.
Such a route would allow residents along this corridor to access shopping centres such as Forest Hill, which has one of the few cinema complexes in the area. It would also improve access to shopping strips such as Blackburn South and Brentford Square.
Canterbury Road Smartbus petition (PDF 44Kb)
Extending the Principal Public Transport Network
The State Government’s principal public transport network is a list of bus routes which will be upgraded to SmartBus standards. This list however needs to be expanded to cover major gaps within the outer east, including Maroondah Highway, Canterbury Road and Wonga Roads, as well as a linkage between Glen Waverley and Knox City via High Street Road.
The PPTN must be expanded to cover all major roads within Melbourne to provide fast, frequent and readily available public transport within 1km over people’s homes.
Ultimately a restructuring of Melbourne’s bus routes is required. With all metropolitan bus contracts to be renewed in 2007 it provides the government with the ample opportunity to finally improve Melbourne’s bus network.
It is only through a grass-roots movement and active involvement that results can be achieved. It is time the outer east ceased being a political football to be kicked around. It is up to us to step forward and demand change for the benefit of the outer east and its residents.
New members are always welcome, whether you interested in one of the above campaigns or just want to help out where you can. Meetings are relatively informal and are open to any suggestions you may have.
To become involved please email the Outer East branch on outereastptua.org.au or call the PTUA Office on 9650 7898.