In response to overcrowding, public transport users are calling for an urgent upgrade to evening off-peak train services in Melbourne. According to the Public Transport Users Association (PTUA), evening services should be upgraded to operate at the same interval as daytime (between peak) services. This move would apply to all lines, with evening trains operating every 15 minutes on most lines.
â€œThe current half-hourly service is extremely poor and does not meet twenty-first century standards,â€ said Jeremy Lunn, spokesman for the PTUA. â€œThe existing timetables are way out of date, too infrequent and donâ€™t meet the expectations of the public.â€
The upgrade call comes after record levels of patronage growth have seen overcrowding on many services, including evening services. This patronage growth is a result of employment growth in the Melbourne CBD and higher petrol prices. In addition, the CBD has seen increased social activity, such as entertainment, dining out and a thriving nightlife.
â€œMany of these commuters are choosing to remain in the city after work for social and perhaps also work reasons,â€ Mr Lunn said. â€œHowever, they are not being catered for by the public transport system for their return trip home.â€
â€œWeâ€™ve received many reports from the public about this overcrowding and weâ€™ve witnessed it ourselves on a number of occasions,â€ Mr Lunn said. â€œOften it is impossible to get a seat and many people are left standing. On occasions some passengers can’t even board their train, leaving them to wait half an hour or more until the next one.â€
Mr Lunn said that the State Government is in a good position to carry out these upgrades as contracts for Melbourneâ€™s train network are up for renewal this year.
â€œJohn Brumby needs to act now by upgrading Melbourneâ€™s rail services, before more passengers are left behind. If the Brumby Government is serious about solving the issue of high petrol prices, climate change and traffic congestion, it should not be running evening trains half-hourly,â€ Mr Lunn concluded.