The Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) has called for an end to the archaic practice of terminating Alamein shuttle trains at Camberwell.
â€œThis practice is way out of date and ought to be replaced by running direct Flinders Street trains,â€ said Jeremy Lunn, the PTUAâ€™s Outer-East Convenor.
Introducing direct Flinders Street trains on the Alamein line would not only save time (up to five minutes on a return trip), however, it would also reduce overcrowding between Camberwell and the city. It would also enable some Belgrave/Lilydale line trains to run express during off-peak times.
â€œDue to recent patronage growth, it has become increasingly difficult for Alamein commuters to get a seat on connecting trains at Camberwell,â€ Mr Lunn said. â€œYet there isnâ€™t even any guarantee from Connex that shuttle trains will be met by a connecting service, with commuters sometimes being left stranded for 10-15 minutes.â€ Mr Lunn said.
The PTUA is also calling for an upgrade to peak hour services on the Alamein line. Services would run every ten minutes compared to the current 15-20 minute service level. Ironically, peak services are currently less frequent on the Alamein line than during the off-peak (weekdays during the daytime).
â€œThese large gaps are a joke and greatly inconvenience Alamein commuters. Itâ€™s little wonder that commuters are finding that even congested roads are more attractive than public transport,â€ Mr Lunn said.
Mr Lunn said that the idea of direct trains is not a new concept and that shuttle trains were introduced in the past as an effort to downgrade the Alamein line.
â€œThe Alamein line is an under-utilised asset, and will not reach its patronage potential until we see such upgrades.â€
â€œThe Brumby Government needs to show they are committed towards tackling the real issues of traffic congestion and climate change by upgrading public transport,â€ Mr Lunn concluded.