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Geelong Branch Media Release

21/05/2004

Better Services Needed to Counter Falling Patronage

Public transport users have called for a "step change" improvement in services to counter falling rail patronage on the Geelong line. More frequent services, fare integration and bus connections to stations were needed for rail services to remain competitive with the upgraded freeway to Melbourne.

Spokesman for the Geelong branch of the Public Transport Users Association, Tim Petersen, made the call following the Transport Ministerís admission (to a public hearing on Thursday) that the Geelong lineís patronage was down six per cent on the same time last year (Geelong Advertiser 21/5/04 p 6.)

Mr Petersen said the PTUA was deeply concerned that patronage had fallen, and said that this went against the governmentís own goals to get more people onto public transport. Mr Petersen said that it was likely that many former train users and new commuters had chosen to drive to Melbourne instead, because services were becoming less competitive with car travel.

Mr Petersen said users simply wanted frequent, reliable train services at fares that were competitive with the costs of driving.

He said it was time for a "step-change" in train frequency to at least every half hour: "The base, hourly services have remained unchanged since they were introduced in the early 1980s, while the freeway to Melbourne has been upgraded from four to six lanes."

"Itís ridiculous to spend millions of dollars upgrading tracks if the government refuses to improve train services. If Gosford is provided with half hourly services to Sydney, so too should Geelong to Melbourne."

Mr Petersen also repeated earlier calls for fare integration with local buses and Melbourneís public transport. He said that one round trip from Belmont to St Kilda Road on public transport required full fare passengers to buy four separate tickets at a total cost of over $29: "Itís just not competitive with car travel."

The Geelong Branchís 2004 Fast Train Policy Update can be viewed on the PTUA website at www.ptua.org.au/geelong.

Contacts:
PTUA Office 9650 7898


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Last Modified: 24 May 2004