Statement set to disappoint

The Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) warns Manningham residents not to get their hopes up in the eagerly-anticipated ‘Transport and Liveability’ statement to be released in coming weeks. Given the State Government has been tight-lipped on revealing its intentions for Manningham: tram 48 along Doncaster Road from North Balwyn, heavy rail along the Eastern Freeway or upgrades to the overcrowded and strained bus network, all signs lead to very little being delivered where it is desperately required.

PTUA spokesman and Doncaster resident Christopher Trikilis questions the motivations of the transport minister and government, urging them to come clean on their intentions in the upcoming statement – especially given the silence so far given in relation to Manningham and its transport needs. Despite much lobbying from transport users, the community and Manningham Council, it seems the transport needs of the area continue to fall on deaf ears.

“It’s obvious that if the government didn’t think there was a transport problem they wouldn’t be madly trying to piece together a Transport and Liveability statement, which is now weeks overdue. The need for greater public transport in the region was one of the reasons why this statement came about, and one of its core promises by the minister in November (feasibility into rail options to Doncaster) is clearly in danger of not being announced”, said Mr. Trikilis.

“Doncaster needs the tram. The entire Doncaster Hill project depends on a high-capacity transport link, and the enormous redevelopment of Shoppingtown will bring the Hill to a standstill without proper public transport. This $40m, 4.5km extension through to Doncaster Shoppingtown provides this very link by running very frequently for 20 hours a day and will greatly enhance transport options for all in the area”, Mr. Trikilis said.

The opening of EastLink is set to cause headaches in Manningham when it opens in late 2008 and up to an additional 30,000 cars a day choking Manningham’s arterial roads – with many roads being used as rat runs. Therefore the need to install adequate public transport before this happens to allow Manningham’s residents a usable alternative in their travel needs is vitally important.

“If Doncaster does not receive the tram extension then the entire Doncaster Hill project is put at jeopardy. No significant public transport announcement is bad for residents and bad for local business. The government has left us in the lurch for too long and must now do something to provide transport solutions to residents of Manningham because currently the buses are overcrowded and won’t continue to cope in the future”, concluded Mr. Trikilis.