Category Archives: Melbourne and suburbs

Call for govt to fund official PTV “every 10 minutes” train plan

The Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) has called on the State Government to fund the official PTV rail network service plan, which included trains every 10 minutes on most Metro lines by 2016 [1].

PTUA spokesman Daniel Bowen said the upgrade would revolutionise train travel around Melbourne, by cutting waiting times and crowding outside peak hours, and making more trips viable by public transport, including those requiring a change of service.

“Studies show that waiting time for public transport is often perceived negatively [2], with passengers believing waiting time is longer than it actually is”, said Mr Bowen. “This actively discourages people from using using infrequent public transport, especially for journeys requiring connections between services.

“Running trains every 10 minutes every day, just as we see already on a few lines, and just as we see in other cities of Melbourne’s size around the world, will get people off the roads.”

The PTV plan, written in 2012, proposed that by 2016 there would be the following service levels off-peak and on weekends:

  • 6 trains per hour to Sunshine, Craigieburn, South Morang, Macleod, Ringwood, Glen Waverley, Sandringham, Newport (in addition to existing services to Frankston and Dandenong)
  • 3 trains per hour off-peak to outer-suburban stations at Sunbury, Belgrave, Lilydale

Number of stations outside inner area[3] served by 10-minute frequencies


Total stations

Current weekday off-peak

Current weekends

Proposed PTV plan 2016, 7-days

via North Melbourne





via Clifton Hill





via Burnley





via South Yarra










The number of stations on the network with all-week frequent services would rise from about a quarter to about two-thirds.

At many stations, this would mean the time between trains was halved.

Mr Bowen said that while some off-peak services were crowded and would be relieved by extra trains, the primary aim was to cut waiting times to get more people out of their cars.

“Weekend traffic is now as bad as weekdays. We know from Vicroads figures that there is almost as much travel demand in the middle of the day, and on weekends as there is at traditional peak commuting times”, said Mr Bowen. [4]

“PTV’s train plan isn’t perfect, but implementing the 2012 recommendations would be a great step towards a frequent metro service around Melbourne.

“The current half-baked metro service we have now just don’t cut it. Our city is growing fast, and we can’t have is inaction until 2026 when the metro tunnel opens.”

The PTUA also called for trams to be upgraded to run at least every 10 minutes until midnight, 7-days-a-week, for Smartbus services to run every 10-15 minutes on weekends, matching weekday frequencies (and in line PTV plans) and to expand the Smartbus system.

“Melbourne has a vast fleet of trains, trams and buses, much of which sits idle on weekends”, said Mr Bowen. “We know that people want to travel. It’s time the government funded extra services to cut waiting times, and make public transport a more viable option – not just in peak hour, but right through the week.”

* * *

[1] PTV Network Development Plan, Metropolitan Rail. Full document, pages 32-33.

This PTV chart from page 33 of the document shows 6 trains-per-hour (eg every 10 minutes) by 2016 to most of the network.

PTV Network Development Plan 2012: Planned train services

[2] Research paper: Perception of Waiting Time at Transit Stops and Stations

[3] Stations outside the CBD, Richmond, North Melbourne, South Yarra, which already have frequent services (6 or more trains per hour). Assumes weekday Werribee operating pattern would run 7-days

[4] Vicroads Online Traffic Monitor – shows that weekday inter-peak traffic and weekend traffic are almost as heavy as on weekdays during peak times.

Vicroads: Traffic volumes by time of day
Vicroads traffic figures by day of week

Media coverage of this story:

Inside Melbourne’s new trains

Last week we took a look at the mock-up of Melbourne’s new train design, to give feedback to the project team.

The mock-up is one and a half carriages, designed to show stakeholder groups the layout, including the inter-carriage connections.
New train mock-up: It's made up of one and a half carriages, to show the differing layouts throughout the train

The platform alongside the mock-up has different heights, to simulate actual conditions around Melbourne’s rail network. This model of train will initially run between Sunbury and Cranbourne/Pakenham, but eventually will run on other lines too. (We think the front destination sign is very clear, but not so readable from an angle as the train approaches the platform.)
New train mock-up: Front of train

Ramps are also in use for testing with accessibility groups. They are testing different highlights around the doorways to assist people with vision difficulties.

A “gap filler” is being tested, attached to the doorway of the train. We’re a bit concerned that this is rubbery, and may move under-foot – it’s also incompatible with similar devices on some station platforms. The external passenger assistance button is also only a test, and may not be on the final trains built.
Doorway, showing gap filler, external passenger assistance button - these may not be on the final version of the train

Inside, there is open space near the ends of the carriages, providing allocated spots for wheelchairs. Happily, the hand straps in the standing areas are soft, and don’t squeak like on the Siemens trains.
New train mock-up: standing area showing wheelchair allocated spaces and hand straps

The middle sections of the carriages have a lot more seats. The total number of seats in the 7-car train will be about the same as the trains in the current fleet. The mock-up has more places to hold (rails and hand straps) on than on the Comeng and Siemens train, but we think there could be even more provided.
New train mock-up: Seating

Above each doorway is a “Passenger Information Display” screen showing the next station and other information. They’re trying out different designs, including colour, and white on black (which isn’t as “pretty”, but is much more readable).
New train mock-up: interior Passenger Information Display

The inside walls have a “dynamic route map” showing the route the train is taking, and its current location. Of course these will have to be more reliable than the current fleet.
New train mock-up: Interior dynamic route map

A display on the outside of the train also shows the destination. This is more readable than similar displays on the X’Trapolis trains.
New train mock-up: Side of carriage will have a destination sign

Overall the mock-up looks pretty good to us, but we’ve provided some feedback on areas where we hope to see improvements in the design, as have other groups.

Anything you see here may have changed by the time the real trains start service.

Here are some more details of the mock-up, provided by the government:

The High Capacity Metro Trains Project is currently two weeks into the final train design consultation phase, which has been running all year.

14 accessibility groups, 3 passenger groups and technical experts are all now evaluating the mock-up train.

The High Capacity Metro Trains Project ran a passenger simulation exercise a few days ago, where almost 100 members of the public were brought in to experience the mock-up.

On 3 October, Guide Dogs Victoria were evaluating the mock-up – including their suggested change for more flip down priority seating as guide dogs are trained to sit beneath their owner’s seats.

Passengers, accessibility and transport user groups have already provided feedback on features such as the doors, seats, lighting, electronic signage, straps, and handrails.

More than 600,000 Australians currently use mobility aids and the design of the High Capacity Metro Trains has factored in their need for more space for mobility devices, including scooters and wheelchairs.

The final number of seats is yet to be determined and will be decided once the extensive stakeholder consultation that is underway concludes – however, the new trains will have more seats than the current fleets, which have between 420 to 432.

The feedback from stakeholder groups will be consolidated at the end of this evaluation phase, with the train design to then be finalised over coming months.

Port Rail Shuttle resuscitation welcomed

Vital context for unsolicited West Gate Tunnel Proposal, says PTUA

The Public Transport Users Association welcomes the Andrews Government’s resolution on Sunday to progress work on the Port Rail Shuttle to “level the playing field” between road and rail freight for the Port of Melbourne.

PTUA President Dr Tony Morton said the Port Rail Shuttle was a critical project for the mutual benefit of freight operators and residents in Melbourne’s west.

“The relatively modest $58 million price tag belies the importance of this project,” Dr Morton said. “It’s all about renewing a heap of underutilised rail infrastructure around the port area and inner west, based on the most up-to-date thinking in efficient freight movement and logistics. It’s also to Melbourne’s competitive advantage as we catch up to where Sydney is now with its Moorebank multimodal terminal.”

The lack of rail connections to the Port of Melbourne led operator Qube Logistics to abandon the port and focus its operations in Sydney, where the Moorebank terminal provides full flexibility in road and rail-based container logistics. In Melbourne, the Port Rail Shuttle will allow direct rail access between the port and multimodal terminals (dubbed ‘inland ports’) in Altona, Somerton and Lyndhurst.

Rail connections to more far-flung destinations will also be better provided for. “Right now we have the absurd situation where bulk freight is railed in from regional Victoria – at a great saving of money, energy and emissions – but then has to be reloaded onto trucks for the last five kilometres into the dock area,” said Dr Morton.

At the same time, the shuttle needed to be placed in context as the start of a wider rail strategy for the Port, according to the PTUA. “We need to be serious about rail if the port is going to handle the freight volumes being talked about: this means reconnecting rail to Webb Dock, and looking at the whole access charging regime to level the playing field with almost ‘free’ road transport.”

The PTUA also stresses the wider context for transport planning in western Melbourne, with hearings currently underway on the Environment Effects Statement for Transurban’s West Gate Tunnel. “The Port Rail Shuttle currently tops our list of high-value projects that are competing directly with the West Gate Tunnel for attention and funding,” Dr Morton said. “It hasn’t escaped anyone’s attention that the rail shuttle was put on hold for three years just as major road plans were being progressed.”

“We’re under no illusions here – there is a direct competitive situation between road and rail for port freight traffic,” said Dr Morton. “And now we have a choice before us. The West Gate Tunnel tilts the balance toward vastly greater numbers of trucks, while the Shuttle and its complementary rail measures are intended to reduce truck movements. Clearly, the Shuttle affects the business case for the road and vice versa. If we were being honest in planning for the public interest and keeping to the fine words of the Transport Integration Act, the road and rail alternatives would be evaluated side-by-side.”

“This is quite separate to the threat the West Gate Tunnel poses to city traffic and amenity more generally,” Dr Morton said. “Though we’re talking about freight at present, this is not going to be primarily a ‘freight road’. It is quite plainly a radial commuter motorway for single-occupant cars into central Melbourne, of the sort that we thought transport planners had abandoned after the 1970s.”

Submissions on the West Gate Tunnel EES by PTUA as well as the City of Melbourne, the Planning Institute of Australia and the Inner Melbourne Planning Association have raised concerns that freight on the new road will be overwhelmed by an explosion in private commuter traffic, to the detriment of local communities, and that sustainable public transport solutions were being overlooked in the rush to endorse a private toll road. This contrasts with the more targeted ‘West Gate Distributor’ proposal the ALP took to the 2014 State election.

* * *

Further resources:

Remember Doncaster

The Grattan Institute’s revelation that north-east Melbourne has the worst traffic comes as no surprise (The Age, 3/7). It should also remind planners that the idea for trains to Doncaster Hill springs from a genuine need long recognised by the community.

Of all regions, Melbourne’s north-east suffers from the greatest historical imbalance between provision for private cars and public transport. Elsewhere in Melbourne, from the inner city to the fringe, every municipality has at least one train line traversing it. The City of Manningham is the outlier, despite a population equivalent to Ballarat’s and a history of urban development going back more than half a century.

The lack of fast, efficient mass transit linking Manningham to inner Melbourne is often excused by suggesting this suburban population has no particular need to travel to the city. The daily clog on the freeway should give the lie to this.

— Tony Morton, President, PTUA – in The Age 4/7/2017

Lacklustre debut for route 58, while other tram routes suffer

On 1 May Yarra Trams commenced running a new tram route 58, a reorganisation of existing routes to West Coburg and Toorak.

This change had been a long time in planning, and was aimed at providing a higher daytime frequency on the increasingly popular William Street route, and providing a direct east-west connection complementing the well-established north-south corridor on St Kilda Road.

On paper, the route reorganisation helps strengthen the overall tram network and the PTUA has supported it. It was understood many travellers (particularly off-peak on the 55) would see an improvement in frequency. Others would see route changes but no reduction in service (specifically from Toorak Rd to the city, where the service now runs direct to William St, and the previous route to Swanston St requires a change).

It’s unfortunate then that the introduction of the new route has been far from seamless. The first week of operation was marred by frequent reports of long delays, overcrowding, and an overall deterioration from the usual standard of service on the former route 55. While the 58 has been advertised as bringing low-floor accessible trams to the West Coburg route for the first time, the actual service has been provided with an apparently random mixture of D-class, B-class and Z-class trams. Anecdotally, of these only the B-class (with step access) has provided adequate capacity to meet passenger demand consistently.

The problems are partly attributed to the service being run from two separate depots: Essendon (the home of the old route 55) and Malvern (home to the old route 8). Up to now only Malvern depot has had access to the low floor D-class trams. The two-depot operation appears to have inherent problems, which were also seen some years ago when an earlier version of route 8 was run jointly from Brunswick and Malvern depots.

Meanwhile, the (partial) low-floor operation has highlighted the absence of accessible platform stops in William Street. The most immediate need is for a platform stop at Flagstaff station, which would then provide an accessible connection via train and tram to the Royal Melbourne, Royal Women’s and Royal Children’s Hospitals.

At the same time, the reorganisation appears to have provided the impetus for a wholesale tram timetable change covering all routes. Aspects of this new timetable are of concern. In particular (as reported in The Age on 4 April) Yarra Trams and PTV have actually reduced frequency on some lines at particular times, defying the obvious growth in patronage over the past two years (and not only inside the troubled Free Tram Zone).

For some time it has been evident that the sudden drop in frequency from better than every 10 minutes to once every 20 between 7pm and 8pm on most routes has placed strain on mid-evening service. This appears to have been exacerbated with (for example) the loss of the 10 minute frequency that had operated on Friday evenings until 9pm – it now reduces to every 20 minutes after 8pm, as it does on other weeknights.

As analysis in an earlier PTUA News has reported, Yarra Trams operates very nearly a ‘break even’ service. Leaving aside the ongoing renewal of the tram fleet, and the contract bonuses paid to Yarra Trams, the share of revenue attributed to tram use very nearly matches the raw recurrent cost of operation. This is a superior level of cost recovery, to say the least, relative not just to other Victorian public transport but to the majority of public transport systems around the world. With this performance should come a willingness to invest in additional service across the board, to cater for burgeoning demand.

This article is from our May 2017 newsletter. Want more? Join us!

V/Line: Jack of all trades…?

V/Line has been very much a victim of its own success over the last decade, with each new investment, from Regional Fast Rail to the Regional Rail Link, resulting in a boom in passenger numbers.

This shows that when governments invest in a decent public transport option, people will flock to it – but unfortunately the number of passengers has grown faster than the number of services, and passengers are suffering from widespread overcrowding, not just in peak times. While infrastructure bottlenecks are a contributing factor on some lines, the reality is that V/Line’s fleet is simply not big enough to cope with demand – in some cases, the problem is not a lack of frequency, but 3-carriage trains running when a 6-carriage train is needed.

The recent state budget includes an order for 39 additional VLocity carriages, which will allow Bombardier to keep producing trains after the current order is completed. Ultimately this will have a positive impact, but unfortunately it doesn’t change the rate the carriages come off the production line at all – so there appears to be little relief coming in the immediate future.

An underlying issue, especially on the Ballarat and Geelong lines, is that V/Line is expected to do two things at once, which means that it can’t do either of them well. It is effectively running a suburban service to places like Tarneit, Wyndham Vale and Melton, which have booming populations and passenger numbers, while at the same time running regional commuter services to places like Ballarat and Geelong.

One effect of that is that passenger loads vary dramatically along the line – there might be crush loads close to the city but more comfortable conditions further away. Another effect is that rolling stock needs to be diverted to short-run services to Melton, Bacchus Marsh or Wyndham Vale, which means longer-distance trains have to run with fewer carriages.

In its 30-year plan released in 2016, Infrastructure Victoria recommended that the line to Melton be electrified within 10-15 years. The government says that it won’t be possible until the Melbourne Metro tunnel opens in 2026, due to a lack of capacity in the CBD – so it’s clearly seen as something that would happen towards the end of that time period. The planned electrification to Wyndham Vale does not appear to even be on Infrastructure Victoria’s radar, but presumably the same rationale would apply as with the Melton line – not until the tunnel is finished (and who knows how long after?)

If that is the case, it’s clear that planning for the electrification projects should begin as soon as possible, so they can be built at the same time as the tunnel, meaning that both open at the same time. If the government is to fix the underlying issues with V/Line overcrowding, moving the quasi-suburban services to the Metro network must be a priority.

This article is from our May 2017 newsletter. Want more? Join us!

PTUA welcomes new Track-free Airport Trains to Tullamarine

PTUA president Dr Tony Morton today welcomed news of the Skybus Citylink Airport Maxi service – an innovative partnership between the state government, Skybus, Transurban and Melbourne Airport.

“We have seen a massive increase in demand for transport to the airport, and something had to be done. This new service makes great sense, it’s immediate and it’s cost effective”, said PTUA president Dr Tony Morton.

The PTUA understands that the State Government and Transurban have agreed that the recently added lane on Citylink and Tullamarine Freeway will be a dedicated lane for the track-free trains.

It is understood the state government will subsidise passenger fares, and that Transurban will receive a “toll” for every passenger carried in the train-lane. Transurban said the train-lane would carry far more people than cars, with capacity for up to 9000 people per hour. “This will benefit all Citylink users. More people will use the reliable express track-free train, meaning less cars clogging up the road to the Airport, which is great news for our Citylink customers.”

Passengers will not be required to carry eTags.

PTUA understands the track-free train fleet will be “all electric” and locally built, benefiting both the environment and local industry. An insider hinted that gantries would be installed at Southern Cross and Melbourne Airport, allowing the track-free trains to recharge as they pass through the terminals.

“Melbourne is growing rapidly, and passenger volumes through Melbourne Airport have increased by 13% in the past 2 years”, said Melbourne Airport. “We have been calling on the government to build a rail link, but something needed to be done sooner. The track-free train service is a fantastic response, and we look forward to working with the state government to make it happen.”

Dr Morton said that “The PTUA still wants to see a rail line to the airport. Although a track-free train might not be as effective as an actual train, this is a big step forward.

“The dedicated lanes will make a huge difference. You’d have to be stark raving mad to widen a motorway but leave one of Melbourne’s busiest public transport routes stuck in the traffic jams.”

The Skybus Citylink Airport Maxi (SCAM) service is expected to commence with the opening of the new Citylink lanes on 1 April.

PTUA calls for Night Network to stay – but must be made more efficient

The Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) has proclaimed the Night Network trial a success, and that it needs to be a permanent feature of Melbourne’s public transport network[1] – but said it must be reformed to improve the service and make it financially sustainable and more useful for passengers.

PTUA spokesman Daniel Bowen said that the hourly train services were very inefficient, with trains on some lines spending as much time idle at terminus stations that they do in service.[2]

“On the Sandringham line, for every 30 minute trip end to end, another 30 minutes is spent waiting at the ends of the line.

“Meanwhile, trains arriving at Belgrave spend up to an hour there before returning to the City.

“Right across the network there’s a huge staff and PSO presence on stations for only one train service an hour. This is not just inefficient, but long wait times make connections between services very difficult.

“Night Network should stay as a permanent feature of Melbourne’s public transport, but it must be made more efficient.”[3]

On parts of the Night Network, services duplicate each other – for instance the Upfield train and the 19 tram largely run within 200 metres of each other, while many other tram and bus routes have no night services. “It might be that the tram and a connecting bus is a better option on the Upfield corridor after midnight”, said Mr Bowen.

The PTUA believes that to make the Night Network permanent and sustainable, the government should remove route duplication, ensure more efficient timetabling and operation, and target resources to where they will be best used.

The aim should be a Night Network which provides:

  • train services on the busiest lines on Friday and Saturday nights, running at least every half-hour;
  • coordinated connecting rail buses or parallel trams on sections where patronage does not warrant all-night train services; and
  • 24-hour tram and bus routes filling in network gaps where no trains run.

“Trains every 30 minutes on weekends may be possible for very little extra funding – and would be much more attractive to passengers”, said Mr Bowen.

The PTUA is also calling for rail bus services to run along train routes on weekday mornings, meaning 24/7 service along Melbourne’s rail corridors, a service that has run in Sydney since the 1980s[4].

“24/7 services would be invaluable for shift workers, and would better reflect our increasingly 24/7 city”, said Mr Bowen.

“What few patronage figures have been made public show that broadly speaking, Night Network is a big success, particularly in the summer months.

“But routes and timetables must be reviewed and reformed, to improve the service”, concluded Mr Bowen.

* * *

[1] Night Network was originally to run until the end of 2016, but the trial was extended to mid-2017.

[2] Night Trains run on all Metro lines (except Stony Point) on Friday and Saturday nights. PTUA found that on some lines, trains spend up to half their time idle on layovers at terminus stations. For instance:

  • Sandringham line: trains spend two hours doing a round trip that takes just 30 minutes each way, with layovers of 24 minutes at Flinders Street, and 36 minutes at Sandringham.
  • On the Belgrave line, trains arriving at Belgrave spend up to 62 minutes laying over there before returning to the City.
  • Shuttle trains are timed to meet hourly trains from the city, and as a result spend much of their time idle at termini stations: Cranbourne 55%, Alamein 60%, Williamstown 80%
  • While some layover time is inevitable, to ensure the timetable can recover after a delay, the hourly frequency means this can be excessive. The average layover time during Night Network operations is 37.6% (22.5 minutes out of every hour). In contrast on Sunday nights – when trains run mostly half-hourly – it is 21.8% (13.1 minutes of every hour).
Line Running time (outbound / inbound) Layover at inner terminus (eg Flinders St) Layover at outer terminus Percentage of time laying over at termini
Sandringham 30 / 30 24 36 50.00%
Frankston 62 / 61 23 34 31.70%
Cranbourne (shuttle to Dandenong) 13 / 13 4 29 55.00%
Pakenham 72 / 71 22 15 20.60%
Glen Waverley 34 / 34 24 11 Up to 34.0%*
Belgrave 65 / 71* 11 up to 62* Up to 34.6%*
Lilydale 58 / 59 11 5 to 18* Up to 19.9%*
Alamein (shuttle to Camberwell) 12 / 12 32 4 60.00%
Hurstbridge 59 / 60 18 43 33.90%
South Morang 42 / 43 10 25 29.20%
Upfield 34 / 34 5 47 43.30%
Craigieburn 41 / 41 8 43 38.30%
Sunbury 47 / 45 9 6 14.00%
Werribee 49 / 48 17 6 19.20%
Williamstown (shuttle to Newport) 6-Jun 11 37 80%

*Lilydale, Belgrave and Glen Waverley lines run a complex system of through-routing during Night Train hours, meaning layover times vary. Running times also vary widely on the Belgrave line due to single track delays.

[3] PTV figures indicate the cost of the current Night Network trial is an average $45 per trip.

[4] Sydney’s NightRide bus service has run since 1989, providing service along most rail corridors, each night between midnight and 4am when trains are not running.

Services packed while seven trains sit idle – where is the new timetable?

With trains sitting idle, and services getting more crowded, the Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) has called on the state government to run extra train services on Melbourne’s crowded rail network.

“Regional Rail Link opened more than a year ago. This opened up space on the Metro network for dozens of additional peak hour trains on some of the busiest lines, but almost no extra services have been provided.”

Mr Bowen said that since the last major timetable change in July 2014[1], eight additional X’trapolis trains had been delivered, with another five currently on order.

Leaked documents indicate RRL was to have been accompanied by extra services on most lines around the Metro network[2]. However most of the changes were deferred; instead only one extra service per peak period has been added. With fleet expansion, this means up to seven trains are sitting idle in peak.

In January it was reported that Werribee/Williamstown line patronage had increased by 8% in a year, with Sunbury patronage up by 12%.[3]

Crowded train
Crowded train

“RRL opened in June 2015. The trains are getting more and more crowded, yet only one extra Werribee service each peak has been provided. What happened to all the other services that were planned?

“Altona Loop and Williamstown users still have trains only every 22 minutes in peak hour, and the much-hated Altona Loop shuttle service remains, despite promises it would be fixed.

“Western suburbs trains in particular are increasingly packed – the very situation Regional Rail Link was designed to help resolve.

“It’s high time we saw that freed track capacity used and those new trains deployed, to boost services and cut waiting times and overcrowding”, said Mr Bowen.

* * *

[1] ABC 27/6/2014: “Almost 4,000 new train, tram and bus services to begin in Melbourne from late July”

[2] The Age 22/7/2015: “Train delays as government bungles biggest Metro timetable boost in years”

[3] The Age 26/1/2016: “1200 people on a train is 50 per cent too many: rail overcrowding getting worse”

More on this story: The Age: Melbourne to go more than two years without a peak-hour train timetable boost

PTUA calls for better stations with skyrail

The Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) has called for all stations rebuilt as part of the Caulfield to Dandenong “skyrail” proposal to be upgraded to Premium status, and for better facilities and more weather protection than proposed by the government.

The PTUA’s submission to the Level Crossing Removal Authority called for escalators at all stations to assist passengers reaching platforms, roof structures to provide full platform coverage for passengers, and for high quality bike, pedestrian and bus interchange facilities.

Premium stations include better passenger facilities such as toilets, and Metro staff from first to last train. Of the five stations to be rebuilt, currently only Clayton and Noble Park are Premium stations.

Carnegie and Murrumbeena have Metro staff only in morning peak, and Hughesdale has no regular Metro staff presence. Under current government skyrail plans, this will not change, and these stations will not include escalators.

PTUA spokesman Daniel Bowen said with growing patronage, passengers deserved better facilities, and a permanent staff presence at their local stations.

“These stations are used by thousands of people every day, and with increasing density of housing in the area, they are only going to get busier.

“Full time Metro staff at stations can help people with their Myki tickets, give travel advice, and provide a level of vigilance and security – not just after 6pm, but all day.

“This project is a good chance to upgrade station facilities, and ensure that train passengers – as well as motorists – fully benefit from the removal of the level crossings.”

Other improvements the PTUA called for include:

  • Given platforms will be up to 230 metres long, if possible station exits to both sides of roads should be provided, offering better pedestrian access, and direct interchange to buses in both directions
  • Pedestrian crossings with response times within 10 seconds, and placed to make train/bus interchange as quick as possible
  • Bus lane and traffic light priority for buses in station precincts
  • Parkiteer bike cages for all stations, with provision for additional cages to be added later
  • Where practical, bike paths to go over roads rather than force cyclists to cross streets at grade

The PTUA remains concerned at impacts of the project on some local residents, and has urged the LXRA to work closely with the community to ensure construction and ongoing impacts are kept to a minimum, and to be more open with information about the project.

Mr Bowen said the design of the project should ensure that it minimised impacts on residents, and that it had the best possible outcomes for public transport users.

“Skyrail can provide a number of advantages, including far less disruption during construction. Another benefit is the lower cost compared to putting rail under road – the savings should be returned in the form of better station facilities for local commuters”, concluded Mr Bowen.

The PTUA’s submission is available at