The Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) has welcomed the government’s commitment to expand the train fleet and redevelop Footscray station, but noted more needed to be done to help western suburbs commuters.
PTUA president Daniel Bowen 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), because the premature scrapping of most of the Hitachi train fleet failed to take into account patronage growth anticipated under the government’s 2020 target.
“It’s clear that we need more trains”, said Mr Bowen. “Overcrowding is now endemic, with the Werribee, Williamstown, Sydenham and Broadmeadows lines particularly badly hit. People are regularly left behind at some stations, so we are pleased that the government has accepted our advice to purchase new trains. They can’t come soon enough, and in the mean time the government should be immediately boosting shoulder-peak services to provide travel choice during these times.”
The new, albeit expensive, station at Coolaroo was welcomed by the PTUA, as was the redevelopment of Footscray station and the station precinct.
But Mr Bowen noted there was more to be done to give more people in the west an effective alternative to driving, to better cut traffic congestion and reduce smog and greenhouse gas emissions.
“The western suburbs need a big boost to train and bus services. With many stations only getting a train every 20 minutes, even in peak hour, and most buses so infrequent, most commuters will have little choice but to continue to drive, clogging up our roads and freeways”, concluded Mr Bowen.