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Geelong Branch Media Release

07/09/2001

Train Users Fear Betrayal on Fast Train Ticket Prices

The Geelong Branch of the Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) today slammed Peter Batchelor for refusing to rule out ticket price increases to fund the fast train projects. Peter Batchelor was recently reported by AAP as having told Parliament's Public Accounts and Estimates Committee that ticket prices were still to be resolved with V/Line's operator (see p. 7 Geelong Advertiser 7/9/01.)

Spokesperson Tim Petersen said train users from Geelong already paid a premium for a service that was in several ways inferior to that in outer-suburban Melbourne. He also said that making train users pay extra for the slightly upgraded service, while motorists drove along the upgraded Princes Freeway free-of-charge, was unfair and ridiculous.

"The $270 million Geelong Road upgrade is being completely funded by taxpayers, while it seems train users will be expected to help pay for the $90 million upgrade for the Geelong line- despite it costing only a third of the freeway upgrade."

Mr. Petersen said despite the advantages to the community of train travel- including reduced road congestion, air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions- successive governments had set fares too high. "It is often cheaper for motorists to pay for petrol and drive to Melbourne, rather than pay $19 for a return trip on the train. Ignoring car maintenance costs, it is only if people have to pay for parking in central Melbourne that they find it cheaper to catch the train."

Mr. Petersen also said current fares between Melbourne and Geelong were particularly unfair when compared to fares for outer-suburban Melbourne, saying that country fares should be integrated with the Met system at no extra charge to users.

"Travellers from Pakenham in Melbourne's outer south-east, have trains running every 20-30 minutes, all day, 7 days a week, and pay less than $11 (for a daily Zone 1+2+3 ticket,) which allows travel anywhere within metropolitan Melbourne all-day. Compare that to travellers from Geelong, who despite having paid $8 more, get only one return trip and have to buy an additional Met ticket to avoid being stranded at Spencer St station!"

"It is very disappointing that the government is continuing to fail to engage in any community consultation," Mr. Petersen said. "We still have serious concerns about crucial details of the project; such as fast trains simply expressing past important commuter stations. Yet no answers have been forthcoming from the government."

Contacts:
PTUA Office 9650 7898

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Last Modified: 07 September 2001