The Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) has welcomed Labor’s policy, announced today, to run more frequent Geelong trains during the day on weekdays. But they have also called for better planning to help passengers get to stations, saying many new buses will only meet every third train.
The Labor Party policy promises trains every twenty minutes between Geelong and Melbourne, on weekdays between the morning and afternoon peaks.
Geelong Branch convenor Paul Westcott welcomed Labor’s support for more frequent trains: ‘We’ve been asking for better off-peak services for years. At the moment, you can drive all the way to Melbourne in the time you’d spend waiting between trains’.
Mr Westcott said this would still apply at some times, but that the announcement was a significant win for train travellers. ‘Trains should run at least every half hour in the evenings and on weekends too, but this is a major step forward.’
However he said that the announcement highlighted the need for more buses and better network planning in Geelong. ‘Car parks are full by the early morning, and people need alternative ways to get to the station,’ Mr Westcott said.
‘But many of the buses running on new timetables run only hourly, and can only meet every third train. Other newly upgraded bus routes run every 30 minutes– but because the times won’t match, they can only meet every third train as well’.
Mr Westcott also said users also fear that patronage on the new trains could drop once they eventually run along the proposed new Regional Rail Link. The link could mean slower travel times for Geelong trains, and will cut connections to the metropolitan network at Werribee and North Melbourne stations.
‘Both examples underline the need for better network planning in Geelong and Melbourne, and an accountable public transport authority would be the best way to go about it,’ Mr Westcott concluded.