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Users present public transport vision

Queuing for busTrains, trams and Smartbuses every ten minutes, all suburban stations staffed, V/Line trains every half-hour on main commuter routes, “Tram-cams” to catch careless motorists, and a Public Transport Authority to better plan and manage public transport all feature in the Public Transport Users Association’s call to the political parties in the run-up to the state election in November.

PTUA President Daniel Bowen said that in the next four years, significant steps could be taken towards providing all of Melbourne with frequent services, running at least every ten minutes, seven days-a-week.

Mr Bowen said that there had to be a greater focus on boosting services for passengers, and highlighted the case of yesterday’s Melbourne Marathon, with organisers advising tens of thousands of participants that “With start times of 7.00am, 8.00am and 7.30am respectively, public transport is not an option for Marathon, Half Marathon and 10km competitors”, due to the late Sunday start of train services.[1]

“Public transport is lagging behind”, said Mr Bowen. “Whether it be hopelessly inadequate and infrequent services in the outer suburbs, or the late start to train services on Sunday, decades of neglect have resulted in services which fail to meet the standard that the public demands.

“More services, running more often, is the key to getting more passengers on board. Services every ten minutes fix problems with connections between modes, and give passengers a ‘turn up and go’ service that means they never have to look at a timetable.”

The PTUA’s ‘Priorities for 2010-2014’ document also includes calls for:

  • the full implementation of the Bus Service Reviews, to untangle the bus network and make it more usable;
  • completion of the Green Orbital Smartbus to Werribee, and implementation of the inner-suburban Blue Orbital Smartbus, both proposed in 2006 but scrapped by the government in 2008;
  • Skybus to accept Met (zone 1 and 2) fares, to increase patronage and better gauge demand for a future airport rail link;
  • a multi-modal public transport system map to be published, highlighting frequent routes and available on vehicles and stations, and online;
  • duplication of high priority single track sections of the rail network to improve reliability and allow more frequent services;
  • funding for proposed rail extensions to Mernda and Clyde (Cranbourne East), and a full independent feasibility study into the Rowville rail line;
  • a railway station at Southland shopping centre;
  • tram extensions to major shopping centres and railway stations; and
  • more grade separation of level crossings.

Mr Bowen said that in many cases, highly beneficial improvements could be made to the public transport network without expensive capital works.

“In the case of the Bus Service Reviews, many of the route changes would be cost-neutral, yet would bring major benefits to passengers.

“But overall the key is to get more services running more often, to cut waiting times and get more people out of their cars. In the next four years, Melbourne should move towards having public transport running ‘every ten minutes to everywhere’”, concluded Mr Bowen.

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[1] Melbourne Marathon web site: www.melbournemarathon.com.au – General – Getting to the MCG. The first Sunday morning trains arrive at the MCG too late: from Belgrave/Lilydale 7:52am, Frankston 7:43am, Dandenong 7:52am, Hurstbridge 7:43am, Epping 7:58am, Sandringham 7:58am.