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Media Release


Still No Solutions for the Outer East

Anger Greets Tollway Announcement while Public Transport Rots

The Public Transport Users Association has condemned todays announcement that the Government will pay an additional $1 billion to the private operators of Melbourne's trams and trains funded by tolls on the Scoresby Freeway.

PTUA Secretary Vaughan Williams said that the announcement confirmed the trend of stagnant public transport patronage together with escalating costs for passengers and taxpayers.

"The Scoresby Tollway will not meet the transport needs of the Outer East," said Mr Williams. "What people really need is fast and frequent public transport, including a train line to Rowville, a tram extension to Knox City, as well as improved services on the Ringwood, Dandenong, Glen Waverley and Frankston Lines. An overhaul of bus services to make them like trams - running frequently until midnight every day of the year - would complete the package."

"The Mitcham-Frankston Tollway will still cost the Victorian taxpayer dearly - in the order of a billion dollars. And motorists will have to pay tolls as well - with little choice because there is no public transport to speak of."

"Instead of making the relatively modest investment to give Melbourne the best public transport in the world, the Government is throwing more money at the tram and train operators to make up for these multinational companies poor commercial judgement. What are we getting for our billion dollars?"

"If the operators don't want to deliver the contracted services at the contracted price, the government should send them back to France and take control of a public system again."

Mr Williams added that the subsidies paid to the private operators were now well in excess of those formerly paid to the PTC to operate the same services.

"In its last years of operation, the old PTC received around $350 million in today's dollars to provide more or less the same services as the private operators provide now. This $200m a year increase in subsidy will take the total subsidies to around $500 million. This shows that the cost savings of privatisation were always pure fantasy (and we did tell them so) - it doesn't make any financial sense to continue with private operation of the system."

"The people of the outer east, who so recently put their trust in the Bracks government, will be very angry that all they are getting to meet their transport needs is a tollway that doesn't go where they want to travel, and no improvement to their appalling public transport," concluded Mr Williams

PTUA Office 9650 7898

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Last Modified: 15 April 2003