Friday, July 11, 2008

Eddington Report Online Forum - Public Transport, Bicycles et al

Here's a transcript of the entire forum.

Public Transport

Public Transport in Victoria is facing real challenges. Parts of the rail network are nearing capacity, more and more people are turning to buses to connect with transport hubs and road congestion is making tram and bus travel more difficult.

Sir Rod has recommended a number of large projects which he believes will increase capacity and improve public transport in Melbourne’s east and west including:

  • a new generation, 17km rail tunnel linking Melbourne’s western and south eastern suburbs
  • bringing forward a new rail connection between Werribee and Sunshine (the Tarneit link) to improve services from Werribee, Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo
  • the electrification of the rail network to Sunbury
  • a major boost to planned improvements to buses in the Doncaster area
  • the development of a dedicated fund to introduce more Park and Ride facilities
  • A number of links to improve cross city cycle connections

100 Responses to “Public Transport”

  1. Bruce responded:

    Congratulations on the proposal for a tube rail line from Footscray to Caulfied bringing Melbourne into the 21st Century. Has consideration been given or can consideration be given to include the Williamstown and Altona lines as part of any future tube network. Service and maintenance work for tube trains could be carried out at the Newport rail workshops?

  2. paroberts responded:

    The Eddington Report’s focus was on improvements to east-west travel in Melbourne. I am concerned that the comprehensive plan for Victoria may end up being biased towards these east-west improvements. What about north-south for example?

  3. peterc150 responded:

    The proposed rail tunnel is a good idea, but how do we know if it the highest priority rail project? The rail lines to Doncaster, Monash University and South Morang lines are all needed to shift road trips to rail. Also, the new line does not remove congestion on the current rail infrastructure.

    I think we need a transport study that addresses all of Melbourne’s needs before a major rail tunnel is built, especially considering that underground rail is 100 times more expensive than on ground rail

  4. Bruce responded:

    The Eddington Brief was for an East/West Needs Assessment. Plans for north-south requirements will most probably be considered by Government as part of an overall transport plan for Melbourne

  5. lmccon05 responded:

    The brief was narrow for this report but it still determines east-west travel as going through the city - one of the major problems with the current public transport system that it is city orientated. I do not know of the numbers that go from Footscray to Caulfield but further out for example from Greensborough to Broadmeadows takes at least an hour by bus or you have to go into the city and back out and unless my geography is bad is this not also east-west travel?

  6. robhudson responded:

    The Eddington Report found that a rail tunnel from Footscray to Caulfield woul expand capacity on the North western and Western rail lines. The Eddington proposal effectively adds capacity to the Williamstown and Altona lines.

    The Premier has indicated that there will be a Transport Plan at the end of the year and broader transport priorities will be considered.

  7. Angela from Benalla responded:

    I have only heard about Dr Eddington’s recommendations for Victorians who live in Melbourne.I drive 84 km each day to & from work because there is no public transport alternative. Could you please tell me Dr Eddington’s recommendations for public transport reform/improvement in rural Victoria.

  8. Bruce responded:

    The tube tunnel is required to free up capacity on the rail network to enable container freight to be moved by rail through Southern Cross and Flinders Street Stations to a Dandenong modal hub.

  9. Cory responded:

    The Footscray-Caulfield tunnel does have its benefits. For those coming from the West, it provides an alternative direct route into the city. It provides a rail link to the hospital/university district as well as St Kilda Road/Domain.

    However, I’m yet to be convinced of its need - especially when compared to other areas of Melbourne.

    I think the Doncaster Rail link (the planning of which is almost reaching its centenary) has a much higher need. This would also reduce traffic on the Eastern Freeway, by provided an appropriate, viable and effective alternative to taking the car. The suggested Doncaster Bus improvements are an appropriate short-term response, but we need to be thinking beyond the short term.

    Melbourne’s sprawl continues and rarely does that include public transport. Rail Infrastructure (primarily) should be a mandatory part of any planned development on Melbourne’s outskirts, to cater for the commuter. Electrification of the Sunbury line is a good move, but what about furthering links to other outlying suburbs such as Melton, and out beyond Pakenham etc?

    The ONLY way to reduce traffic is to reduce people’s dependence upon cars. If you build roads, they will fill.

  10. peterc150 responded:

    In addition, I think there is an opportunity build an inner city metro system that services Carlton, Brunswick, Richmond, South Melbourne, North Melbourne (possibly Footscray) and Melbourne University.

    A rail link to Melbourne Airport is urgently required to reduce the thousands of taxis and hundreds of busses that do the trip daily to downtown Melbourne.

  11. Victoria responded:

    Environment Victoria supports the various recommendations for public transport service and infrastructure improvements and extensions put forward by the Eddington report.

    Further, booming growth areas in the north and south east have been neglected in terms of public transport improvements, with promised links such as the South Morang/Mernda extension being repeatedly postponed. Infrastructure extensions to these areas must be provided simultaneously so as not to further ingrain transport disadvantage in these areas, and to meet previous election commitments.

  12. millfordj responded:

    The public transport system should be viewed as an investiment in an asset, not a cost.

  13. lmccon05 responded:

    Sorry if this comes up twice but my first post does not seem to have worked. The Eddington report addresses east-west travel but only if it goes through the city - why? An hour travel on public transport from Greensborough to Broadmeadows or going through the city is not going to entice people from their cars.

  14. Alex_H responded:

    The Eddington report talks about adjusting fare prices to reflect the costs of new investment and brings up the example of the city loop which was intended to be financed by a premium on tickets during its construction in the 70s.

    As a public transport user, I would like to see the system financed entirely from commercial revenue. The failings of the system as we have it now are due to the protection by the government of the operators. The operators must be made to fend for themselves in a commercial sense. Only then will investment reflect need.

    This will require fares to be raised across the board. In fact, the government should no longer control fares, fares should be controlled by the operators. This will allow for fares to properly reflect the cost of travel, eg longer trips will cost more.

    Price controls create shortages, and that is what we are seeing now. The longer the government control of public transport, the worse the problem will become.

    To solve the problem, each public transport modality must be deregulated in succession. Begin with the least infrastructure intensive modality, ie taxis. A taxi license should attract only a nominal fee, not half a million dollars. There should be an unlimited number of taxi licenses available, a taxi license for anybody who is willing to drive a taxi. Taxi drivers should be able to negeotiate their fares as they wish (taxi companies will likely still have a fee structure for the purposes of convenience).

    Next, buses must deregulated to the point where any entrepreneur can lease a bus and print a few timetables and starting running routes.

    By the time you get to deregulating rail, the other modalities will have become so robust that a failing of the rail operators would be ameliorated. In a free market, failure is a necessary possibility for any business. The government must forever give up the idea of bailing out operators.

    Finally, ticket inspectors should not have special powers alloted by the government. Let them have the powers of any normal security guard. If operators are worried about the cost of fare evasion, let them raise their fares across the board. Having people paid and empowered to intimidate passengers is not acceptible. As it is now, public money is being used to place people in fear.

  15. chrisabruns responded:

    Why is it taking so long to address orbital travel. Why is it taking years to roll out the SmartBus network in parts of Melbouren other than the Eastern suburbs. Surely finishing the SmartBus network and rolling it out to the rest of Melbourne in the next 12-18 months should be something that could be done quickly?

  16. robhudson responded:

    Peter150, all proposals will be be evaluated by the Brumby Government and priorities will be determined by the end of the year.

    Peter, the proposed new line will reduce congestion because it opens up train pathways into and through the city.This will allow more trains on the system to cope with the growing demand for rail transport in Melbourne.

  17. peterc150 responded:

    A number of links to improve cross city cycle connections is an excellent idea. However, they need to link with good cycle routes that go further. For example, there is currently no safe cycle route from Box Hill to the city unless you detour a long way north or south to get to a cycle path.

    There is an excellent opportunity to put in a cycle path following the rail easement, which would also cater for local and family trips too. More details on this route are available here

    Similar routes are also needed north, south east and to the west. The advantage in following rail lines is that it promotes cross-modal train/cycling transport options.

  18. lmccon05 responded:

    Can anyone explain to me why it was only for east-west travel and not transport city (or even state) wide?

  19. robhudson responded:

    Imconn05, you are right, not all travel is East-west.But there has been a huge growth in commuter travel to and from the Melbourne CBD in peak hour because of the substantial growth in jobs in the CBD and surrounding inner urban areas.

    In terms of travel across the metro area the government has already committed to spend over $600m on four orbital bus routes that will connect major activity centres, railway stations across melbourne, reducing the need for people to travel in and out of the CBD on the rail network to get across the metro area.

  20. NaiF responded:

    The government has been extremely remiss in not ensuring that any new housing developments have access to rail infrastructure. This is of extreme urgency as most people who move to the outer suburbs do so because of the cheaper housing prices. If they are now spending hundreds of dollars in petrol it will mean that they can no longer afford to live and have major impact on these families.

    The South Morang, Monash and Doncaster rail links are of utmost importance to reducing traffic congestion on the roads.

  21. brendanpell responded:

    I’m a daily bus user, travelling from Doncaster to the CBD. Currently the outbound trip up Hoddle street, to get on the Eastern Freeway takes 10-15 minutes - just crawling along at about 15-20km/h. There is a “T2″ transit lane, but it is not enforced, with many single occupant vehicles using the lane. If there is a desire to improve the bus service, then I’d suggest that policing the transit lane Northbound on Hoddle St would be the most effective way to start. Is there any reason why the T2 is currently not enforced?

  22. robhudson responded:

    Angela, from Benalla,

    there has been a massive growth in patronage of 30% on V/line services as a result of the investment the government has made in upgrading rail lines to the four major regional centres.

    Public transport improvements in rural and regional Victoria will be considered as part of the Government’s transport plan at the end of the year.

  23. millfordj responded:

    I would prefer to see a rail link to Doncaster rather than a bus link.

  24. NaiF responded:

    I live 2 stations from the CBD yest a train only stops here once every 20 minutes (maximum providing they are on time). Even when one does stop it is almost impossible to get on the train due to overcrowding. I do prefer to ride my bike but some days this is not possible - why are inner city suburbs so poorly serviced by trains?

    This is a rapidly growing suburb and it is usually quicker to drive into the city than to catch public transport - that is the most ridiculous reality!!! The current system needs to be completely overhauled with a major focus on level crossings to ensure that more trains can run more often!

  25. Angela from Benalla responded:

    The Victorian government needs to prioritise public transport solutions for all Victorians because we all pay the same tax. How will the government implement the Commonwealth & State ageing in place policies in rural Victoria with the existing level of public transport for our rural elders to get to health and other services & businesses in towns. Public transport in rural areas is more complex than going to Melbourne. We need to get around our own communities as well.

  26. jgormley responded:

    Recommendation 1 - the rail tunnel is by far the most powerful recommendation in the report. Our tertiary education institutions are the nursery, laboratory and factory floors of the emerging knowledge economy and this links together three of the ten Specialised Activity Centres identified in Melbourne 2030. Only by connecting these locations to cheap and convenient transport can they function properly. Historically, the car was cheap and convenient but this era is clearly behind us now and students will be amongst the first commuters to fall off the car ownership roster as rents, food, fees and fuel prices continues to rise.
    The logic contained within Recommendation 1 must be extended to link in a fourth Specialised Activity Centre at Clayton which includes Monash University (Australia’ largest university), the Synchrotron and CSIRO.

  27. dayg responded:

    Further to Bruce’s comment, the Newport junction connected via tunnel to Southern Cross/Victoria Park/Doncaster would provide access to Werribee/Geelong, Sunshine/Ballarat and Bendigo as well as Broadmeadows(Melbourne Airport?)/Sydney. Reservations are mostly already available, freeing up Footscray and North Melbourne from intercity and major suburban hubs commuter trains. Benefits also to north/south traffic.
    This will further free up the Appleton/Dynon/Footscray lines for improved freight/container rail traffic to the Port of Melbourne.
    It’s a shame we missed the opportunity to underground Spencer Street station when we had the chance a few years ago. Nevertheless, undergrounding portion of it via this proposed link is better than nothing.

  28. liampc responded:

    The EWLNA states that the number of trains undergoing load breaches is increasing and the numbers by which the load breaches are occuring is increasing which people who catch a train in morning peak can confirm.

    The government has ordered new rolling stock that will arrive in 2009/10 (due to the leed time). Why has there not been orders for more rolling stock beyond that date? It is my understanding that some of the new trains will be replacing the old Comeng trains and hench there will only be a slight increse in rolling stock numbers.

    With plans in place to improve rail capacity (such as sunbury electrification) and most lines very close to capacity at the moment. Why are there no orders for rolling stock beyond 2010?

  29. robhudson responded:

    Cory, the Government has already committed $80m to the Doncaster Area Rapid Transit in 2009, which will increase patronage levels on this rapid bus link to the city by 50%. in the State budget the Brumby Government committed to fund an extra 20 services a day.

    The full implementation of DART, with the additional priority measures recommended by Eddington will result in a patronage increase of a further 5,000 to 10,000 per day. With the right bus priority measures, including priority bus lanes, a bus can be as frequent as a tram and as reliable as a train, and certainly make comparable trip times, into the city.

  30. Brendan responded:

    I commend any investment in public “community transport” however tunnels are the most expensive form of construction, there are exemplars of transport investment in other cities that have considered more creative ways of looking at, and solving their transport needs. Curitiba in Brazil is a significant case study that demonstrates non-traditional and creative solutions to their transport needs.

  31. Sweeney responded:

    Can anyon explain why we even have ‘zoned’ fares for public transport. Surely if this is a tax payer funded system, we should all pay the same price? why should the outter working class pay more for their public transport tickets than those who probably have the means to pay more in their $1m plus homes in the inner ring? Sounds like subsidised transport for the rich?

  32. Brendan responded:

    Melbourne’s future transit needs are best met by a public transport system that remains a public asset. One example of the reasoning that supports this position is the delivery of redundant duplicated services and the subsequent resource wastage that results from a market based competition approach. Strategic objectives to support a greater modal shift to public transport, ie; planning and development, infrastructure for transfers, can be more effectively integrated if the government retains ownership over the public transport system.

  33. peterc150 responded:

    The other planning issue for public tranport is provision for a very fast train link to access Melbourne. Such a train could carry people to Canberra and Sydney and reduce the huge amount of high green house gas emission air trips along this route.

    Some details on VFT are here:

  34. Brendan responded:

    Debate needs to be given to the real costs of providing a fare “free” metropolitan service. Political courage would be required to demonstrate the real costs of such a system in comparison to the costs of an existing under utilised public transit system. Bearing in mind public transport is a community service these costs are a triple bottom line calculation.

    There needs to be a real comparison that details the direct and indirect costs of road transit, costs are measured by more than $.

  35. Alex_H responded:

    @sweeney. Living 20km from the city, your house may be cheaper but your transport costs will be greater, that is a fact of life.

    Fares should reflect cost. Once this happens, it will make business sense to expand the infrastructure.

  36. lmccon05 responded:

    Can you give examples Brendan?

  37. gollan responded:

    From Mum Cathy Glen Huntly
    I am pleased to see the plans for major investment in public transport given the climate change and oil problems that will face our kids. As a mum with kids on school holidays rioting in the background an on-line forum now it not easy! I hope the forum can continue another day next week when the kids are back at school please! I am really saddened by the Eddington report recommending a new freeway - this is a tragic proposal which will add to traffic congestion, greenhouse emissions, and oil use when we should be seriously tackling these with better public transport, bike and walking facilities.

  38. NaiF responded:

    When I was in Perth recently they had such an innovation - they built a new freeway - get this - WITH a train line and stations down the middle. These stations were accessed by bridges over the freeway. They even had these little metal boxes in the car parks where you could store your bike! What innovation, what foresight - maybe the Vic government should communicate with it’s counterparts in other states??

  39. Alex_H responded:

    @brendan, I find it hard to believe that a market solution would be more wasteful than a government solution. How many hundreds of millions have been wasted thus far on Myki?

    In a proper market situation (without government alloted monopolies) it is likely that businesses will cooperate when their interests coincide, thus you will see infrastucture for transfers and so on.

  40. Brendan responded:

    transfers – quick and efficient transfer stations including those at modal change points, these transfers need to occur without discouraging patrons to continue extended journeys on the system, this includes catering to comfort, weather protection, and safety concerns

  41. Brendan responded:

    trials – new routes and services can be effectively trialed without total end cost investment by using bus services to prove service viability and demand, similarly smaller vehicle feeder services could be implemented in suburban areas not well serviced with fixed transit modes, these should be multiple services, small and regular routes that service local catchments and transfer with major services linking to fixed transit systems

  42. Brendan responded:

    prioritising – all public transit modes require prioritising over private transport concerns in order to improve service and speed perceptions, traffic control systems integrated with public transit movements during peak and off-peak times

  43. Brendan responded:

    comfort – all stations, stops and transfer change points need to cater to patron requirements regarding weather protection, safety perception and customer service personnel / visibility of public transit personnel

  44. Brendan responded:

    speed – maximise public transit vehicle speeds stop to stop, this compliments prioritising by allowing vehicles to move at maximum safe speeds, this is particularly relevant to rail travel where currently vehicles are restricted from operating at maximum speeds due to outdated track management systems and neglected infrastructure maintenance and upgrades, current limited budgets are spent on improving the more glamorous aspects of the system such as rolling stock

  45. lmccon05 responded:

    I also have a problem with the Zone system of payment but not because if you live further out you pay more. With the two zone system you can live in Zone 2 travel 4 stations and require a Zone 1&2 ticket compared with a Zone 1 ticket that can take you much further. Also V/Line passengers who pay for weekly or monthly tickets at the Zone 1&2 areas also get travel around Melbourne for the month, however, living in Metropolitan Melbourne you only get Zone 1&2 - include these areas in the metropolitan system or change the pricing arrangements.

  46. Brendan responded:

    frequency – a critical deterrent to the uptake of public transit travel in Melbourne currently is the low frequency and complicated timetabling of service arrivals and departures, 5 – 10 and 15 minutes service intervals are easy to remember and give patrons predictability for the next service. Similarly the restricted hours of system operation do not functionally compliment the potential demand. As a public system the hours of operation need to be extended and public holiday / weekend services need higher frequencies to cater to recreational usage.

  47. Brendan responded:

    wages – public transit personnel should have a wage and salary incentive scheme that rewards customer-focused goals of reliability, safety and patronage

  48. robhudson responded:

    liampc as you know the Brumby Government has committed over $600m to bring forward the purchase of 18 new 6 carriage train sets that will be progressively introduced into the network from early 2010. In Meeting our Transport Challenges we committed to spend $1.3 billion on additional rolling stock, so there will be additional trains commissioned for the network after 2010.

  49. jgormley responded:

    Increased cycling connectivity and infrastructure was also another welcome recommendation of the Report. Surrounding our universities with high quality, interconnected cycling infrastraucture out to 5kms would provide affordable transport to the main stakeholders of these institutions and would totally transform these areas of our city. Aside from reduced congestion GHG’s etc these areas would become re-invigorated, medium to high density hubs as students clustered into the area and services followed them in.

  50. Brendan responded:

    Imccon - the costs of road transit i was referring to are things associated with health outcomes from emmissions, road trauma and costs , compensation, environmental costs, road faces a lower carrying capacity for private vehicles mer metre developed.. those sort of issues

  51. Alex_H responded:

    @imccoon, I agree. The government currently controls fares and that is why they very poorly reflect the cost of travel. Let the people providing the services set the fares.

    @brendan, we’ve had government controled public transport since World War 2, and all the things you talk about have not happened. Although there are now private operators, it is still not a system of free enterprise.

  52. Brendan responded:

    Alex_H… it is the market that has brought us into the situation we now face… individuals with choices versus communities with solutions, costs are measured in more than $ and cents

  53. jadonmintern responded:

    I know this is not strictly on topic. But as a rural Victorian, I perhaps notice more the exaggeration of some claims. For example, NaiF has claims her station is ‘poorly serviced’ with a train ‘only’ every 20 minutes. Please note this is not a personal attack by any means.

    However, I catch the train to/from school everyday and can I suggest that you try waiting for (or accidentally missing) trains that only come once every hour at a minimum - often 2!

    It’s just a personal niggle of mine…

  54. millfordj responded:

    Is the Government scared of risk with rail because the expertise in rail isn’t there anyone (unlike road)?

  55. liampc responded:

    The supporting documents of the EWLNA state that the Tarneit rail link would follow the transport corridor detailed in the “1990 Werribee Growth Area Plan.” Does anyone know where I can find it?

  56. lmccon05 responded:

    While there is no doubt that there have been some major problems with the introduction of Myki, I believe that this is along the right idea. It will have the ability to make fares more fair, will add to convenience and can incorporate all forms of public transport, i.e MET, V/Line, the other bus companies such as the ones that run down the peninsula. I also heard that there are plans to make a Zone 3 and Zone 4 which would incorporate Geelong and the like, which means Myki would become even more important. Many other places have ticketing systems such as this and they work magnificently.

  57. Alex_H responded:

    @brendan, in a proper market situation dollars and cents will reflect the public good. The current situation is highly distorted. For instance, most state roads are free to drive on. The costs for maintainence and construction should be covered by road users, thus the individuals making the choices will have more accurate price signals.

  58. millfordj responded:

    we caught have paid for a train 10 times over with the blowout from Myki. thanks for the waste of our taxes. i better to get back to work to earn more of it for you.

  59. Cory responded:

    I’m heartened by the fact that bicycle commuting was mentioned within the report. Melbourne already has well-established cycling routes, and the patronage of these is increasing.

    My concern is the focus upon segregation - bike paths and ‘Copenhagen’ lanes.

    These are great for encouraging new cyclists to pick up the helmet, instead of the car keys. But what then? Unless a cyclist has a segregated bike path running outside their house, and continuing right to the end of their route (work/train station/wherever), then they will have to ride on a regular road.

    Most long-term cyclists avoid bike paths. Too narrow, badly maintained, too many meandering corners, too dangerous.

    I would hope that any funding towards furthering bicycle transport would also include a thorough education program, for motorists and cyclists alike. In order to get a car license, the aspirant driver must be aware of a cyclist’s rights upon the road. (And, any laws should be enforced effective - both for drivers AND cyclists).

    But at the end of the day, anything that provides a viable alternative to people getting into their cars is a good idea for the future of Melbourne.

  60. NaiF responded:

    jadonmintern - yes regional services are also quite appalling and growing up in regional Victoria I understand the frustration of unreliable and infrequent services!

    However the other day it took me an hour and a half to get to work (6km) due to a train cancellation which lead to the next 2 trains being so overcrowded that they didn’t even stop at our station - had I been advised of this situation by the service provider I would have walked as it would have been quicker. Trains are “supposed” to stop every 20 minutes however a train goes THROUGH this station 10 times an hour!

  61. effnvic responded:

    I think we all agree that public transport requires action. But I’d suggest that the proposed tunnel is far from an answer.

    Looking at the Eddington Report’s 2017 forecats peak figures. It’s actually been calculated that this 170,000 pasengers could commute in our current system and only count for 75% of its capacity - if it was run efficiently.

    The $8b suggested for a tunnel bypassing existing public transport infrastructure would simply be building further capacity for the same inefficiencies.

    1. If we’re to increase efficiency - investigate the current system, rather than alternatives. Particularly around
    > City Loop flows/bottle-necks
    > splitting regional and metro lines

    2. If you want to build greater capacity - look at the Doncaster link to the city and other growth areas such as the unserviced estates being built dependent on roads.

  62. Alex_H responded:

    @imccon, no doubt it’s important to move from the extremely outdated metcard, but the handling of Myki is a disgrace. In Japan these technologies are developed through cooperation between private companies. Considerations are made to maximise the benefits of the cards, they can for instance be used in vending machines. Japan actually has a number of different cards operating simultaneously.

    People often point to Europe for examples of public transport success, but in Japan the trains are completely private and they have the most regular services in the world.

  63. Angela from Benalla responded:

    Thank you jadonmintern. Another voice from the wilderness. I am really saddened that the Eddington report was labelled as Victorian public transport. This forum was labelled as Victorian public transport. Now it appears that Victorian public transport is all about Melbourne. People are proposing tunnels here, bipasses there. If my son misses his school bus there is no alternative to me driving 130km round trip to pick him up. Can we please look at equitable public transport for all Victorians!

  64. NaiF responded:

    As Cory mentioned - most people’s bicycle routes to work are not easy. In my cross-town 7km commute I lose bike path access on a frequent basis and have to ride on some very busy roads which connect these bike paths. It is often a very scary proposition but there is no other way to get across.

    I also have to battle Swanston St which is a major cycling hazard with the number of buses and cars that use this so called “walk”.

  65. jgormley responded:

    Question for Robhudson. The Eddington report’ scope is limited and you have mentioned that the Govt will reveal a transport plan at the end of this year. In light of the emphasis that the Eddington report placed on Melbourne’ emerging knowledge economy and the demonstrated solution of linking these knowledge centers by rail. Can we expect this logic to be carried forward vigorously and applied to the rest of Melbourne (and the state)? Monash University’s largest campus has had busses trying to do the job of trains for 50 years. It’s a system that has failed to deliver (literally) and must be upgraded to rail for all the reasons that Sir Rod has identified within the East West scope of his project.

  66. lmccon05 responded:

    Alex_H it is the handling of the Myki that is a disgrace (maybe if roads were being built they might be able to manage better) and not the idea. So, yes I am greatly annoyed at the wasted money which has been spent on this program but it is just as important to get a new ticketing system in.

  67. Cory responded:

    Rob - as I mentioned. I do think the (emotively named) DART is an appropriate response in the short term. Errr… like TODAY!

    But, moving beyond that, rail should be implemented to reduce the amount of traffic on the Eastern Freeway.

  68. lmccon05 responded:

    The transport plan for the end of the year also includes roads - the missing link. As for the Universities that are not serviced by train (Monash, Deakin) they also have limited car spaces and as P platers (majority of University students) are no longer allowed to car pool with anyone else their age, so public transport is going to need to fill a very big role.

  69. robhudson responded:

    Eddington made a number of recommendations about improving the principal bike network and these recommendations will be actively considered in the Government’s response.

    The Brumby Government recognises that cycling is increasingly popular and that many people are using it as a commuting alternative. The government has already invested $72m in upgrading walking and cycling connections and is committed to further expanding the network.

  70. gollan responded:

    From Cathy mum Glen Huntly - the plan should include improving bus services to connect to the welcome new train services proposed. Will buses meet every daytime train or at least every 15 minites like smartbuses? This would make the most use of the new rail capacity and avoid the need for ugly and dangerous carparks at stations. Bitumen and empty cars is a waste of the best land next to stations that could be better used for town squares, bus stops, bike parking and new shops and apartments.

  71. lmccon05 responded:

    Rail is not the only answer! Improving feeder buses to the stations is also vital, buses that meet trains and run more than every half hour during peak hours. If not train capacity will grow, including for short trips where buses could be just as effective, and we will end up with the preposterous situation that is currently being discussed in my local paper, that of a double storey carpark at Watsonia station!

  72. robhudson responded:

    chrisaburns, establishing the orbital bus routes, which are being tendered has involved negotiations with the existing bus operators in these corridors.

    However, these have been concluded and the Government is now progressively rolling out the orbital bus routes.

  73. Ralfp responded:

    Swanston st needs to be closed to vehicles again. City of Melbourne should be patitioned by the community to progress this.

    How about including more fold-dwon seats (such as at the end of rows within trains) so that there is more standing room capacity at peak times.

    It seems that sending all trains through the loop is the bottleneck for more capacity. Is there an option for having depicated loop trains and developing transfer stations at locations like Flinders st, Southern Cross and even Richmnod where suburban trains turn around without going through the loop.

    Epping line, which I use, is aften heavily used, especially at evening peak times and impossibly over-crowded when a service is cancellled. Spreading peak usage should be further persude. I am able to use the early-bird ticket… just. This scheme would work better if it was extended to 7.30am. Getting to your destination prior to 7.00am (7.10) often means catching a train prior to 6.30. not realistic for most office workers.

  74. Cory responded:

    Rob, you’ve been waiting you use the ‘cycling’ spin haven’t you.

    Construction of paths/lanes is highly visible and looks good on an annual report. However, it doesn’t actually provide a viable alternative to many.

  75. moderator1 responded:

    Please remember the forum rules:
    *Keep relevant to topic
    *No swearing
    *Nothing defamtory
    *Keep responses short (to improve readability)

    Comments that don’t adhere to the rules will not posted.

  76. darrenpeters responded:

    A railway extension to South Morang and Mernda must be built immediately. Rather than building the East West road tunnel, the money should be spent on extending and upgrading our railway network. The State Government must not just look at the east west requirements of our city, but look at Melbourne as a whole. The congestion problem we face is not solely caused by people travelling from East to West, it is caused by road based transport from all over Melbourne. To remove this problem, we need to extend railway lines into the outer suburbs to give residents an alternative to driving into Melbourne. Within this decade, the City of Whittlesea predicts that there will be close to 93,000 residents living in South Morang, Mill Park, Mernda/Doreen and Whittlesea. That is 93,000 people who are reliant on cars as their primary transport and will therefore cause massive congestion issues in the northern suburbs. To prevent this problem, the timeline for the South Morang and Mernda railway extensions must be brought forward. This can be done by building the Keon Park-Epping duplication and the South Morang and Mernda extension projects at the same time rather than sequentially. It seems completely illogical to wait until 2027 to build an extension to Mernda as suggested in DOI’s 2007 NEITS document. With petrol prices continuing to rise, the state government must extend railways rather than building road tunnels to help ease the financial burden fuel is placing over outer suburban residents who have no choice but to drive.

  77. lmccon05 responded:

    Again, why was the Eddington report only to deal with East-West travel?

  78. robhudson responded:


    the government is conducting reviews of all bus services across the metro area. Already several of these have been completed and have resulted in an upgrade in bus services, for example in the Hume/Moreland area. Since mid 2006 improvements have been introduced on 66 bus routes, resulting in 4,500 additional bus trips per week. a further 58 service improvements will be introduced by mid 2008.

    In addition, the government has committed $1.4 billion over 10 years to 2016 to increase bus services by 40%.These upgrades will improve the connections betwen rail and tram lines and buses.

  79. robhudson responded:


    the Caulfield to Monash Smartbus has resulted in significant upgrades to this route and improvements to this service. for example, on North Road, there is now several kilometres of priority bus lane and bus priority traffic improvements. Route 900 on Wellington Road has had over 970,000 trips in the 2007 calender year.

  80. paparo2 responded:

    As a West Australian who is regularly in Victoria using public transport in Melbourne with my family, there are two comments I would make:

    1. In WA there was initially a lot of criticism when the proposed underground railway work and Mandurah railway extension were proposed. I always supported it because of its vision and foresight. Current passenger numbers show that it was the right decision. In the same way, I would suggest Sir Rod’s visionary plans for Melbourne are absolutely necessary and should be applauded.
    2. As another contributor has already said, Perth has done some innovative things - interstate and overseas visitors regularly comment on the railway down the centre of the freeway. I would also add WA’s Smartrider ticket system which has now been quietly operating very successfully for a couple of years. I was involved in the pilot Smartrider scheme before it was fully implemented and I suggested at that time that the same electronic system should implemented in every city around Australia. With the delay of the Myki system in Victoria, and NSW also having delays, perhaps consideration should be given to a national approach. When we are travelling on trams, trains and buses in Melbourne, it would be great if the electronic Smartrider tickets from WA would also work there (and in other Australian cities) - instead of fumbling around with cash or having to buy Metcards as we also do. There are many great things being done nationally at the moment re uniform standards, licensing, education etc - how about making it easier for people using public transport too? Think of the benefits for tourists also.

  81. darrenpeters responded:


    Will the Mernda railway extension be brought forward from 2027, as mentioned in DOT’s NEITS document? Also, what will be the completion date of the South Morang extension, Minister Kosky said she would bring it forward but would not give a time - is it safe to assume it is still 2021 as outlined in MOTC and NEITS?

  82. tonycanavan responded:

    The Eddington report only reported on east-west travel because that was its terms of reference. Everyone agrees that its recommendations must now be compared to other priorities both in Melbourne and Victoria. That is what the government is now doing.

  83. jdmelb responded:


    City of Melbourne’s Planning Committee resolved to relocate the tour bus stops to Bourke Street, south side, immediately west of Exhibition Street adjacent to the Southern Cross 2 tower buildings. This will occur upon completion of the second tower. This may go some way in alleviating the amount of traffic along Swanston Street.

  84. Sweeney responded:

    The State is growing at a rapid rate and most of that growth is happening on the fringes and away from existing infrastructure. There are already huge areas that arent serviced adequatley by public transport (including outter east, south east and the west) and the report at face value appears to do little to address these areas in any meaningful way.

    We’ve already seen a massive jump of 20% in the use of existing rail over last 12 months or so, that is only going to compound but the system is not going to handle it. We need to invest much more much sooner to get this system up to the level that the state will need if it is to come anywhere close to serving the needs of its residents and reduce its carbon footprint.

  85. liampc responded:


    As a member of the study team, could you possible tell me where I could find a copy of the “1990 Werribee Growth Area Plan” that outlines the transport corridor for the Tarneit link?

  86. robhudson responded:

    Darren peters,

    as you are aware the Brumby government has announced funding of $10.4 million in the recent State Budget to complete the detailed design work necessary for the next stage of adding capacity to the Epping line and to identify preferred options for improving public transport beyond Epping. The Government will wait for this work to be completed.

  87. Cory responded:

    By adding capacity to the Epping line, are you going to also look at the impact on other users of that line closer to the city?

    Or are we going to get another farce, like what has happened since Broadmeadows was extended to Craigieburn, and the trains are full before they reach stations closer to the city?

    Just extending the lines is not enough… (but CERTAINLY required!)

  88. robhudson responded:


    that is why the Brumby Government has commmitted to $1.3 billion to upgrade and expand bus services in the outer urban areas of Melbourne. Remember the Eddington Report only looked at East West tranpsort links in a small study area.

    The Government will release a Transport Plan by the end of the year.

  89. darrenpeters responded:


    Thankyou for your reply, though it did not answer my question. I asked if the extension projects to South Morang and Mernda would be brought forward from their current dates of 2021 and 2027 respectively.

  90. MD43 responded:

    We have a problem in Doncaster, our only public transport option is buses. The solution to fixing this is not MORE buses. Even with dedicated bus lanes buses will be slower than trains because of Hoddle Street. It took me 50 minutes off peak to get from the Pines to the city on the 304 (easily the most direct route between the two) because of traffic.

    I can’t understand how the Government can take freeway tunnels under Bulleen (6km) and Warrandyte/Park Orchards (15km from memory, unless you want to buy properties in the most expensive outer suburb in Melbourne) into consideration yet totally ignore a 5km rail tunnel to Shoppingtown and a 10km of above ground rail. Particularly when rail tunnels ($30m per km) cost about $10 million less per km than road tunnels ($40m per km). Not only that, but the price of the rail line to Doncaster seems to considerably change every year, in 2003 a public transport group had it at about $650m, a couple of years ago (2006?) the Government said it was $1 billion (and at that price it is still worth building it), then Eddington comes in and suddenly it’s $2 billion! and uses this to justify more buses (which is the reason public transport usage is so low in the Doncaster area in the first place). Independent people have put the price around the $800m mark.

    Not only that but the cross city rail tunnel is a strange proposal, the system is designed for about 165 (running at 80%) trains per hour into the city, we have just over half of that. Timetables need to be fixed and the ability to tract trains safely so we can put the amount trains originally planned on the system. Something is very wrong with Eddington’s plans, but he is right about fixing congestion now or at least very soon. This said public transport needs a huge boost, more freeways just means more pollution since it entices more people to use their cars.

    The Doncaster line, the extensions to Rowville and South Morang and electrification to Melton and Sunbury are needed asap, even if the system can’t handle the current lines. Just start construction now so they is finished earlier. These extensions will be much more useful and necessary than the rail or road tunnel proposals. Many of these aren’t wants, their necessities in these days of global warming.

  91. robhudson responded:

    Just a quick note to let you know that this forum has five minutes to go. I will be providing an overview of today’s forum, which will be posted later this afternoon on this website.

  92. Sweeney responded:

    Buses are great for local transport, but for primary transport to place of work they are too infrequent and too slow with too many stops once you’re aboard. (with some exceptions, ie the doncaster smart bus discussed above).

  93. darrenpeters responded:


    Will the extension projects to South Morang and Mernda would be brought forward from their current dates of 2021 and 2027 (DOT, NEITS, 2007)respectively?

  94. sasha05 responded:


    A lot neeeeds to be done. Extending MEtro Lines…More frequent services. We shouldn’t have to wait 20mins in peak times for trains. A line through Eastlink for Doncaster area.

    I cannot stress enough that we need more parking at stations!!!
    The way people park at Reservoir Station is tooo dangerous, and also you can never get a park!!! I have to park at Merri just to park somewhere…whats the point of catching the train if you can’t get there in the 1st place!!!

  95. millfordj responded:

    buses are duds. build a train line and be done with it.

  96. robhudson responded:


    that is what Eddington’s proposal in relation to the rail tunnel is all about. It proposes the rail tunnel to expand the number of rail paths available into and through the city.

  97. chrisabruns responded:

    Buses are not duds - if implemented properly.

    Rapid transit buses aere used in other cities with dedicated lanes, proper bus stop facilities and the like. They can be implemented more quickly then train lines, and can move comparable amounts of people.

    The problem in Melbourne is that we have never had the political will to do it properly. Too many parochial interests prevent local councils from taking tough decisions.

  98. tonycanavan responded:

    I think the Public Transport Division within the Department of Transport would be able to locate a copy of the 1990 Werribee Growth Area Plan.

  99. robhudson responded:

    Thank you to everyone who has participated in today’s online forum. Details of any future forums will be posted on the Premier’s website.

    Additional comments can be sent to the Government via the Premier’s website. Formal submissions can still be made on the Eddington Report until the 15th. July.

  100. darrenpeters responded:

    but buses are at the mercy of congested roads - hence why trainlink in South Morang doesn’t meet the connecting train andcan never be a replacement for the promised train extension.

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