The Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) today called the State Budget a Ã¢â‚¬ËœdisappointmentÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ for Manningham residents, with no extra allocated funding to solve the transport concerns of the area following unprecedented crowding on services.
Association spokesman and Doncaster resident Christopher Trikilis said that the main announcement of additional trains would benefit parts of Melbourne, but are of little consequence to those beyond the rail network. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Additional train purchases are obviously needed, but are of no benefit to Manningham residents who are stuck with overcrowded and infrequent bus services, rising congestion, and the constant refusal of the government to extend heavy rail to DoncasterÃ¢â‚¬Â.
Mr. Trikilis said that the organisation had lobbied the government to bring forward the new trains (originally scheduled for 2011 under the government’s Meeting Our Transport Challenges plan), extend tram 48 along Doncaster Road to Shoppingtown, and for partial funding of DART (the Doncaster Area Rapid Transit system due to start in 2010) to alleviate the problems faced by Manningham residents, especially shoulder-peak and evening services which are infrequent.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The government still doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t understand that bus frequencies across Manningham are insulting and insufficient, and that passengers donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t like being crammed in like sardines on the busy routes. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s little wonder that people will continue to drive and cause congestion on the arterial roads when there is no other alternative,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Mr. Trikilis.
Other projects listed in the Budget were the funding commitment to the duplication of track between Clifton Hill and Westgarth stations, the regional rail buy-back from Pacific National, the new (albeit expensive) station at Coolaroo, select station upgrades, and much needed regional bus improvements.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The long lead times on many of the projects (including DART) and the slow rate of service upgrades do nothing to solve the transport crisis in Manningham, and efforts must be made to have DART operational and in place before the early opening of Eastlink next year dumps thousands of additional cars on our roadsÃ¢â‚¬Â, Mr. Trikilis concluded.