Sunday, June 07, 2009

etc submits to train failure inquiry

Back in March the Legislative Council supported a Greens motion to set up an inquiry into the reasons for failures in the provision of metropolitan and VLine train services.

The Eastern Transport Coalition (ETC) took the opportunity to submit to that inquiry and outline it’s position in relation to failures of the train services.

Key points from the ETC submission include:

Historical underinvestment in rail infrastructure and services has led to a relative decline in public transport usage when compared to annual vehicle kilometres travelled in private vehicles. Much of eastern metropolitan Melbourne is characterised by very high levels of car ownership due to insufficient public transport options, causing an over – reliance on private vehicle use and infrequent and less reliable bus services – where they exist. The health, social and environmental costs associated with inadequate public transport services are growing due to this imbalance.

Investment in rail infrastructure and service improvements will substantially reduce economic costs caused by congestion, improve access and equity for outer suburban residents and provide substantial environmental benefits.

With the burgeoning financial and social impacts of an ageing population, along with rapid economic contraction requiring both stimulus spending and reskilling of the labour force, coupled with the health impacts of air pollution and the upcoming process of pricing carbon into the economy, the time is right for governments to take a generational opportunity to invest in sustainable transport.

A more integrated public transport network, across all modes throughout the day would serve to ease demand for limited car parking spaces at rail stations – a problem experienced by many commuters, and in some cases a disincentive to utilise the rail network.

The ETC asserts that the Victorian public transport system could be substantially improved by investing in:
• Rail Network Expansion;
• Rail Capacity Expansion; and
• Rail Operational Improvements.

The ETC calls on all parties to embrace the concept that a well resourced, well integrated and competitive rail network should be at the forefront of public transportation in the 21st century.

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