Given the enormous growth in off-peak rail journeys across Melbourne, the Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) is confident that in its upcoming transport statement, the state government will announce more off-peak train services, adding to those which started this week.
“Finally the government has listened to the community and realises the need for increased off-peak services, especially in the evenings and on weekends. However it has not done nearly enough,” PTUA Outer East Convenor Jeremy Lunn said.
At the start of this week, the State Government added 300 rail services per a week across metropolitan Melbourne, but this averages out at less than one extra service per line per a day, so it will do little to ease the persistent overcrowding problems experienced by train travellers.
“While some lines have received up to eight extra services a day, their uneven distribution means a continuation of packed trains for many Melburnians,” Mr Lunn said.
Earlier this year the PTUA launched its “10 minutes to everywhere” campaign, which would see all major public transport services operating every 10 minutes from 5am to midnight, thereby providing all of Melbourne with a viable alternative to growing road and rail congestion. 
“The phenomenal growth of rail patronage over the past few years has carried over into the evenings, which means that the current infrequent services cannot cope. There needs to be a doubling of evening services on all lines until midnight, tied in with an increased SmartBus rollout to provide frequent and reliable connections to railway stations,” said Mr Lunn.
The PTUA has also called for the Doncaster and Rowville railway lines to be constructed, the elimination of level crossings on Springvale Road, Nunawading and Mitcham Road, the duplication of the single track beyond Ringwood, and the building of a new station at Cave Hill in Mooroolbark.
“This is the last opportunity for the state government to enhance the network effectively, following a number of transport ‘plans’ since 2002 which have failed to deliver,” Mr Lunn concluded.