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Upgrade our trains Brumby, before we’re a backwater

After years of government inaction, the Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) has called for the immediate overhaul of train services in Melbourne’s east. Under this move, train services would be upgraded on the Belgrave, Lilydale, Glen Waverley and Alamein lines.

“We’ve seen no major timetable changes or upgrades since the Kennett era and it’s now time for action,” said Jeremy Lunn, the PTUA’s Outer-East Convenor.  “The existing timetables are way out of date, too infrequent and don’t meet the expectations of the public.”

The upgrade call comes after record levels of patronage growth has seen many services become overcrowded.  We’ve received many reports from the public that Belgrave/Lilydale trains are overcrowded, even in the off-peak,” Mr Lunn said.

To solve these problems and to bring public transport into line with modern standards, the PTUA has proposed the following minimum service levels:

  • Minimum train services every 15 minutes, from 5am until midnight by 2010; with a further upgrade to every 10 minutes by 2013 (5am to 10pm).
  • This minimum service level would apply for each day of the week, with a uniform weekend timetable and no need for a separate Sunday or public holiday timetable.
  • Peak hour services remain at the existing level with additional services to alleviate overcrowding and extending peak hour services to operate from 6:30am to 9:30am and 4:30pm to 8pm.
  • All Alamein services would operate all the way to Flinders Street, allowing the introduction of off-peak express services on the Belgrave and Lilydale lines.

“For example, the idea of having a separate timetable for Sundays should have gone out the window with the introduction of Sunday trading,” Mr Lunn said.

The trains upgrades would also help to reduce pressure on Outer-East residents, brought about by climate change and rising petrol prices.

“The people in the Outer-East deserve an alternative to driving that not only helps Australia to meet its Kyoto targets, but also helps families and individuals to reduce their fuel bill,” Mr Lunn said.

Mr Lunn said that the State Government is in a good position to make to make these upgrades a reality as contracts for Melbourne’s train network are up for renewal this year.

“John Brumby needs to act by upgrading Melbourne’s rail services, before Melbourne becomes a backwater like Adelaide; or worse still, before Adelaide overtakes us,” Mr Lunn concluded.