Manningham public transport users have missed out on free Earlybird travel to be rolled out across the metropolitan train network at a cost of $10 million pa. From 31 March train users arriving at their destination before 7am will be able to travel one-way for free.
“As the only municipality in Melbourne without rail services, Manningham has been left out yet again,” said Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) Outer East Convenor Jeremy Lunn. “It’s perhaps not surprising given the woeful standard of early morning services in Manningham, but residents could be excused for feeling scorned. We’d much rather see the funds go to improved service quality across the network, including in Manningham.”
The omission of Manningham from the Earlybird rollout is not the first time the municipality has missed out on public transport initiatives. Manningham also missed out on the addition of late night services on Friday and Saturday nights when train and tram routes were extended until 2am from late 2006.
“It seems Manningham will continue to miss out as long as the area lacks rail services,” said Mr Lunn. “Now, more than ever, the area needs a fast, environmentally friendly rail link to give residents a viable alternative to rising fuel costs and worsening congestion.”
The PTUA was one of many groups to call for the long-overdue Doncaster rail line as part of the state government’s East West Needs Assessment. The study’s head, Sir Rod Eddington, is expected to hand down his recommendations in the next week or two.
“A train line to Doncaster is the best solution for cutting through congestion, for cutting emissions and cutting petrol bills. Manningham residents should not settle for being shunned again,” concluded Mr Lunn.