07 May 2012

Public transport should be a priority

Public transport advocates have welcomed the next step in planning for the proposed Melbourne Metro underground rail in the State Budget but questioned the lack of immediate investment in improving public transport.
‘Melbourne Metro is a crucial project that ought to get Federal funding. But even it if was funded in the next Federal budget, it wouldn’t be taking passengers for at least a decade,’ says Metropolitan Transport Forum Chair, Cr Tom Melican.
‘Even in tight times we need to be doing more to bring efficient and sustainable transport to more parts of Melbourne.
‘Where is urgent and additional public transport to support the growth corridors, tram and bus priority, station amenity, real time information and ensuring the bus meets the train?
‘The budget papers anticipate increasing public transport use, particularly bus and tram, but there are no additional dollars for these services – just more overcrowding, congested routes and lack of services.
‘The new train at South Morang was full the day it opened, illustrating the pent-up demand in the growth corridors. 
‘Expanding services to growth areas needs to be a priority. If we can’t support growth areas, we can’t afford to let them grow.
‘Growth corridors don’t have to do without sewerage or power, or lobby for gas or water; surely public transport is just as vital to new communities?        
‘All projections point to a rapidly growing Melbourne, but where is the growing public transport to match?
‘This budget asks current public transport users to tolerate crowded, substandard conditions and those without public transport to wait indefinitely.’

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