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“Connecting To The Future” (2013)
Melbourne’s train services would double, buses would run every 10 minutes on every arterial road, and more country rail lines would be restored. And this would only cost 40% of the government’s $38 billion transport plan.
The Connecting to the Future report is our alternative to the Victorian Transport Plan. Its proposed package of improved public transport services and targeted road works includes rail extensions to Rowville, Doncaster, Mernda, Clyde, Mornington and the Airport, tram extensions, return of conductors to trams and staff to all stations, country train lines, level crossing removals, rural road and bridge repairs, and a massive boost to bus services.
The package is estimated to cost $16 billion, less than half the Victorian Transport Plan’s $38 billion budget. Annual recurrent costs would remain the same as now.
Central to the plan is the replacement of the current franchising system with a new agency to coordinate trains, trams and buses. Public or private operators would become contractors to the agency, which would write the timetables, define routes and set fare levels.
Peak-hour overcrowding on trains would be solved by overhauling the operation of the City Loop, to run it the way its planners intended. Back in the 1970s planners talked about having 200 trains an hour coming into Flinders Street. We’ve only got 98 an hour now, which is scarcely any better than before we built the loop!
Because our solution does not involve building an $8 billion tunnel, it can be up and running as fast as we can buy the vehicles – rather than in 10 years’ time – releasing energy and funds to deal with the other 90 per cent of travel that is not CBD or peak hour focussed, and which is almost completely ignored by the government.
For all the money it proposes to spend on a small number of public transport projects, the Victorian Transport Plan won’t solve the fundamental problems, because for the most part it proposes simply to revive old 1960s road plans and do nothing meaningful about the alternatives to car dependence. Our alternative will cost the taxpayer half as much and give us what Victoria is entitled to: one of the best transport systems in the world.
Click here to read the summary or to download the full report.