Services on the Belgrave, Lilydale, Alamein and Glen Waverley lines are still operating below acceptable standards outside peak hours according to the Public Transport Users Association (PTUA), which has called for all political candidates to commit to upgrading services.
“Trains should operate every 10 minutes from 6am to midnight seven days-a-week, bringing train services up to a true ‘Metro’ standard, which is needed in order to meet 21st century travel demands,” said PTUA outer east convenor Jeremy Lunn.
Issues with the current train service identified by the PTUA include:
- Sunday evening services only every 40 minutes, while most other lines in Melbourne operate half-hourly;
- Half-hourly off-peak train services that are below urban standards on the Belgrave and Lilydale beyond Ringwood that kick in before the morning rush is over;
- Evening trains where every second service operates to Ringwood only, with no connecting trains to Belgrave, Lilydale or Alamein;
- All other off-peak services, such as weekday daytime and weekends still operate below ‘Metro’ standards.
“Sunday roast with the relatives is ruined when you can’t get home on the train without facing a 40 minute wait. Only the original Connex/Hillside lines in the east/northeast have this problem, which is an irregularity dating from when the train network was split in two.”
“Many people commuting to the Ringwood or Box Hill activity centres would face an off-peak half-hourly service if they live beyond Ringwood. This must change if the government is serious about Melbourne 2030 and Melbourne’s world-renowned liveability.”
Mr Lunn said that the weekday evening train arrangement is leaving passengers stranded at Ringwood and Camberwell.
“The trains that do connect to Belgrave, Lilydale and Alamein are far more crowded.”
Mr Lunn said that Public Transport Minister Martin Pakula refused to meet with the PTUA Outer East Branch to discuss issues important to Eastern suburban residents. “The government knows how badly they’ve managed public transport that they’re not even prepared to face the community anymore.”
“The current government has failed to act on the needs of commuters in the east. We need a commitment for trains in the east to be upgraded to a 21st century ‘Metro’ standard,” Mr Lunn concluded.