I’m very pleased. After years of pressure, both major parties have pledged to build Southland station. The Liberals promised it last week, and yesterday the ALP came to the party. (As recently as last week, I ran into ALP’s Rob Hudson at Bentleigh station and he said he was pushing for it. At the time I’m not sure I believed anything would come of it.)
Southland was extended in the late-1990s across the highway to the railway line. It’s plainly ridiculous that such a major suburban destination should not have a railway station. While I’ve done it, Cheltenham station is too far for most people to walk (remember, they’ve had to walk to the station from home already, and the buses from the station to the centre depart from several different stops, making even their combined services unusable.
The local buses from nearby suburbs are hopeless. There are no Smartbuses; while the 600/922/923 runs reasonably frequently (due to the historical accident of it being a descendant of the Sandringham to Black Rock tram, and yes, it’s a bus route with three different numbers — ain’t it marvellous?) most of the others are hourly at weekends — the busiest shopping days. The result of course is chaos in the carparks.
So it’ll be good to see the station will finally be built.
A 2004 government study indicated the cost should be $10-14 million. The Libs pledge has come out at $13 million. Labor’s is at a whopping $45 million, which includes a full relocation of the bus interchange (some genius decided when it was built ten years ago that it shouldn’t be near a future station) — whereas the Libs’ only includes two bus bays, and presumably would have most buses either bypassing the station, or stopping briefly there on the way through. This would not necessarily be a problem, as all but one bus route connects with the Frankston line elsewhere.
And cruicially, it’s just the kind of intermediate trip generator that the Frankston line needs. These suburban destinations help a lot because there’s plenty of capacity on trains in and out of Southland at most times of day, meaning a lot more people can use PT for their trips without adding to pressure on overcrowded services.
- The PTUA put out its election scorecard on Wednesday. It’s been updated to take into account the latest pledges, but of the big three, the Greens still lead with an A, the Coalition on a B (largely due to these two parties’ pledges to introduce an independent public transport authority to better plan, manage and coordinate the network) and Labor on a C.
- Meanwhile the Democrats have leapt head-first into the chasm of irrelevancy by pledging to build maglev trains. Ian tells me there’s a maglev carriage for sale in Birmingham, from the former airport terminal connector line — maybe they can buy that one to start them off.