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Evening train upgrades would be a boon

A Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) plan to upgrade evening train services would be a boon to the local economy in Whitehorse. Under the PTUA’s proposal, trains would operate every 15 minutes on all lines, including those to Belgrave, Lilydale, Alamein and Glen Waverley, seven days a week.

“The current half-hourly evening train services are inconvenient and overcrowded,” said Jeremy Lunn, the PTUA’s Outer East Convenor. “As a result, many people are choosing to stay at home or to drive to their evening destination instead.”

Destinations such as Box Hill will benefit because rail travellers will be able to stay out later to enjoy restaurants and other entertainment. As well, local residents will no longer have to put up with the problem of overflowing car parks.

“Having a much more frequent service will give people using public transport much greater flexibility in planning an evening out. And because the infrequent trains are also overcrowded, many people decide not to use them,” Mr Lunn said.

Spiralling petrol prices are another reason residents of Whitehorse are choosing to stay at home in the evening.

“Upgraded public transport services will also lessen the burden of high petrol prices, while enabling people to continue enjoying eating out,” Mr Lunn said.

The PTUA is also calling for daytime services on weekends to be upgraded to the 15 minute minimum standard.

“Regrettably, we’ve seen no major timetable changes or upgrades of the kind we are proposing since the Kennett Government era,” Mr Lunn said.

“If Box Hill is to become a transit city, off-peak train services will need a major revamp. However, as extra services are already needed, it is important that these upgrades are done sooner rather than later.”

“John Brumby has to get serious about upgrading Melbourne’s rail services, before more passengers are left behind. The present half-hourly evening trains don’t help to ease the burden of high petrol prices, traffic congestion and climate change,” Mr Lunn concluded.