More train and bus services welcomed

Train at CaulfieldThe Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) has welcomed new Metro train timetables that will boost train services on some of Melbourne’s busiest lines, and as well as the boost to Smartbus services in Melbourne’s northeast.

PTUA President Daniel Bowen said extra peak-hour services on the Werribee, Craigieburn and Sydenham lines would improve conditions for commuters.

“These lines have some of the worst overcrowding in Melbourne. Every extra train can provide relief.”

The PTUA has also welcomed off-peak upgrades on the Frankston line that will see a train every ten minutes from 9am to 4:30pm, and every 20 minutes from 7pm to 10pm on weekdays.

Mr Bowen said it was unfortunate that the changes meant that Frankston trains would alternate between direct and Loop services, but said that the boosted frequencies were a big step forward.

“Crowding is not just a peak hour problem anymore”, said Mr Bowen. “On some lines it is now common to stand on trains in the middle of the day, on weekends, and in the evenings.

“Boosting off-peak services is critical to reduce crowding and cut waiting times. It will attract more people off the roads and onto trains, as well as encouraging more people to move their trips out of peak hour, helping to spread the peak load.

“Trains every ten minutes means you don’t really need to look at a timetable – it means that our train system is slowly becoming more like a real ‘Metro’.

“These upgrades to both peak and off-peak services show what can be done by better using the ample track capacity and train fleet we’ve already got, together with relatively minor infrastructure upgrades. Services every ten minutes make a big difference to passengers, and don’t require building multi-billion-dollar tunnels or massive track expansion.”

The changes mean that from October 10th, both the Werribee and Frankston lines will run about every ten minutes during weekday inter-peak periods.

“We’ll now have two out of fifteen lines running every ten minutes. The government should push ahead to upgrade remaining lines to run every ten minutes, not just on weekdays, but seven days-a-week, including evenings”, said Mr Bowen.

“It’s also important for the government to boost connecting tram and bus services so that people can get to the station without having to drive and do battle with packed carparks at stations.”

As part of its ‘Every Ten Minutes to Everywhere’ campaign, the PTUA has called for services every ten minutes on all train, tram and main bus routes, to help cut waiting times, improve connections and get more people onto public transport and cars off the road.

Mr Bowen said that the new train timetable, together with upgrades to Doncaster area bus routes (to start on October 4th) and the extension of the 901 Smartbus to Melbourne Airport (to start on September 26th) would all be welcomed by passengers.

But he said it was disappointing that there were no further Smartbus routes currently planned, despite the success of existing services.

“More trains and buses, running more often, are very welcome. It’s critical for the government to commit to more Smartbus upgrades, and improvements to train, bus and tram timetables, to cut overcrowding and waiting times on public transport across Melbourne”, concluded Mr Bowen.