Wednesday, May 06, 2009

buses, buses and more buses

The Eastern Transport Coalition has welcomed the investment in buses made in the State Budget. The commitment to implementing the Doncaster Area Rapid Transport (DART) project is timely - as long as it delivers train like services.

By providing $112.1 million the State Government has committed one third of the cost of the DART project and whilst we have always wanted a train line to Doncaster the ETC welcomes the investment, as long as commuters get train like service.

Train like service means that the DART buses wouldn’t be stuck in traffic on Hoddle Street, unnecessarily stopped by traffic lights or passengers made to wait on street corners.

We also welcome the commitment to extend the existing Yellow SmartBus 901 service from Ringwood to the Melbourne Airport as it will provide residents of the eastern suburbs an affordable way to get to the airport.

The committal of funding for the long awaited and often promised Springvale Road grade separation will ultimately allow for improved train services and on road public transport.

No additional money for public transport improvements in the Yarra Ranges. When can our community expect some transport equity? People in Yarra Ranges are 6 times more likely to use a motor vehicle to get around due to poor public transport services, we deserve the same levels of service as the rest of Melbourne.

The ETC welcomes any increase in funding for public transport in the east, but believes that the improvements and extensions in rail are critical if we are to meet the public transport needs of the region over the next 25 years, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and our dependence on cars.

Key missing links in the meeting the transport needs of the east is the extension of rail through Monash University to Rowville, rail to Doncaster and an increase in capacity of the Ringwood/Belgrave/Lilydale line.

It’s also critical that both stages of the Metro tunnel be funded to allow for an increase in capacity on the Dandenong line.

In terms of Yarra Ranges, there are no new announcements for public transport improvements in our region. Bus service improvements to be implemented from the outcomes of the Bus Service Review will be funded out of the Meeting Our Transport Challenges monies announced long ago with no additional money allocated for Yarra Ranges.

There is clear evidence that if government provides a service there will be an increase in patronage, what we need in Yarra Ranges is a committment to a fast, frequent and well connected public transport system for our outer reaches of Melbourne but this time round the budget doesn't deliver.

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