The Public Transport Not Traffic campaign held their PT To Parliament event on Thursday morning. Locals were encouraged to invite their local MPs to catch public transport with them into Parliament House, and discuss PT issues with them along the way.
My local MP, Elizabeth Miller, was sadly unavailable. So we invited ALP opposition candidate Nick Staikos instead. (As I understand it, the intent wasn’t for a single local group to invite multiple opposing candidates — that may have just descended into a debate/shouting match on the train!)
Since Elizabeth couldn’t make it, I emailed over to her a list of some local PT issues, which she was happy to receive. Here’s that same list, for wider distribution and discussion, in no particular order…
Smartbus 703 (Centre Road) is quite crowded at peak times. Part of the problem is delays on the route due to a lack of bus priority. Also the shortened operating hours and poor frequencies (compared to other Smartbuses) in the evenings and on weekends (including part of the route not running on Sundays) continue to mean patronage is not what it could be, which contributes to weekday parking issues at Bentleigh station.
(Inadequate bus connections are also an issue at other local stations serving the electorate, particularly Moorabbin, Mckinnon and Ormond. The 630 in particular would be a good candidate for Smartbus services — where buses have been upgraded, they get lots of passengers.)
Bus 822 – this currently diverts along side streets between North and Centre Roads, but has long been proposed that it be moved to run down East Boundary Road, to speed up travel, and better serve GESAC (though it already stops nearby, out the back). It’s a mystery to me why this hasn’t happened.
(One local told me he’d heard the bus was diverted out of East Boundary Road many decades ago due to major works, but never put back afterwards! I don’t know if that’s true or not.)
Summer train timetables in the past few weeks caused a LOT of crowding on the Frankston line. Thankfully this is over for now, but this left a lot of regular users very angry.
Signage – several years after it went out of service, the automated sign for train times outside Bentleigh station still does not work. It’s a little thing, but easily seen as a sign of inaction.
(It’s unclear if this will be resolved as part of the $100 million Bayside rail improvements package, which does include signage upgrades.)
Southland station – still no visible progress. I think it’s reasonable to say people had expected more on this by now.
And one more thing with a little twist…
Ten minute services – the Coalition has presided over improvements on the Frankston line such that we now get a train every 10 minutes for much of the day, 7 days-a-week. But there has been almost zero publicity around this, and many locals remain unaware of it. I dare say that better promotion of this fact would not only boost patronage, it would also be a genuine good news story for the government.
(And it being a success is the only way we’ll see it spread to other lines. And even the Frankston line timetable could do with some tweaking, to fix the confusing shoulder-peak mess.)
There are bigger issues at the statewide/citywide level, of course, which I’ll aim to cover in a future post. But these are the local transport issues that sprang immediately to my mind. And note — none of them are mega-projects. The most expensive is Southland Station, in the tens of millions of dollars range. Fixing the other issues would be relatively cheap.
And other areas have local issues… The PTNT campaign is going to launch something on that soon.
But in the meantime, any other locals care to contribute their thoughts?