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Geelong Branch Media Release

20/04/2001

PTUA eagerly awaiting consultation on the Fast Train Projects

The Public Transport Users Association was eagerly awaiting consultation on the fast train projects, spokesperson for the Geelong Branch, Tim Petersen said.

"However, early signs from Spring Street have not been encouraging. The Minister for Transport, [Peter Batchelor] says he wants meaningful consultation with the public. Yet the PTUA, in trying to make an informed contribution, was refused access to the consultants' final reports."

Mr. Petersen said that the PTUA was forced to lodge a Freedom of Information request, which was then rejected by the government. The matter is now awaiting a hearing at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT.)

The summary of the consultants reports, which was released, left out important information. "It is in Geelong and Victoria's interests that details of this significant investment be subject to public discussion, so that the best result can be achieved."

"For example, the Minister said that the 45 minute trip would include only two stops between Melbourne and Geelong." This means passengers getting on or off the train, at any eight of the ten stops between Melbourne and Geelong, would miss out on the benefits of faster trains.

"Under the Minister's plans, it may be that only North Geelong and Lara stations are the only two stops between Geelong and Spencer Street that may be serviced by fast trains. If this is the case, the significant number of passengers who get off the train at North Melbourne to catch the City Loop, or at Footscray or Werribee, will miss out on faster trains."

Even if existing services that stop at intermediate stations are retained, it is not clear that those stops need to be sacrificed for the faster 45 minute trips. The summary of the fast train report did not explore other options to reduce the time it takes to stop at stations: like investing in new locomotives that can accelerate faster, and better braking systems to slow down trains more quickly.

"There was also no indication that the summary of the reports had considered either bus connections to stations, car parking, fares or frequency of train services."

"The Geelong Branch of the PTUA calls on the government to truly open up the whole process," Mr Petersen said. "Releasing the consultant's actual reports would be a good start."

Contacts:
PTUA Office 9650 7898

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Last Modified: 20 April 2001