The Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) has welcomed state Labor and Coalition pledges to expand Melbourne’s rail network.
Labor today pledged funding for a plan for airport rail via Sunshine if re-elected. In recent weeks the Coalition has pledged suburban rail extensions of the Cranbourne line to Clyde, and the Frankston line to Baxter.
PTUA spokesperson Daniel Bowen said that as Melbourne continues to grow, it was critical that the rail network grows with it.
“All of these proposals are important, and it’s great to see both sides of politics recognising that Melbourne needs more rail.
“With traffic congestion now a daily issue across the city, more people are looking for ways to get around without driving.
Melbourne Airport is one of the world’s busiest without a rail link. The PTUA believes the proposed rail link must be fast, frequent, affordable, and have good connections to the rest of the public transport network.
Cranbourne East/Clyde, and Baxter are likely to see strong residential growth, and extending the suburban rail network to these areas, alongside upgrades to local buses, walking and cycling, will give more people viable transport options.
But Mr Bowen warned that the expansion of public transport would be undermined by the large scale road projects proposed by both sides.
“Contrary to what the politicians will tell you, transport infrastructure is not about meeting current demand – it’s about what we want our city to look like in the future, and how we want people to get around.
“More motorways will generate more traffic. In contrast, more rail lines and train services will generate more trips on public transport – which is a much better outcome.
“Melbourne already has more kilometres of motorway than many cities of its size.
“Well-run public transport, and especially heavy rail, can get vast numbers of people from A to B quickly, more efficiently and at less cost than in single-occupant cars. That’s why we look forward to commitments to further projects such as Melbourne Metro 2.
“To really ensure our city continues to function, to ensure people have good access to employment, education and other opportunities, the key is fast frequent reliable public transport, trains trams and buses, along with good walking and cycling options, for every suburb in Melbourne.”
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