Next week’s State Budget needs to deliver on the public transport promises made by the Labor Government to improve buses and rail, the Eastern Transport Coalition said today.

ETC Chairman, Cr Peter Lockwood said a number of promises to improve and expand public transport have been made by the government in the lead up to last year’s election and since winning office, but those commitments must be supported by funding in the upcoming budget.

He said immediate funding was critical to improve buses services across Melbourne, to enhance the rail network, underpinned by the metro rail project, and for the removal of level crossings.

“The existing bus network suffers from poor coordination, inadequate frequencies, poor operating hours and insufficient coverage,” Cr Lockwood said.

“For the majority of people in the eastern suburbs, buses are the only public transport available to connect them with the places they want to go for work, school and entertainment.

“We need a comprehensive metropolitan bus plan and an immediate investment of funds to implement it.”

Cr Lockwood said the ETC also supported the Melbourne Metro Project and trial of high capacity signalling, and recognised that it was necessary to increase capacity in the core of the network before other critical projects like Doncaster and Rowville Rail could be built.

However, he said Doncaster and Rowville Rail should not be forgotten in the meantime, and steps should be taken now to protect the preferred alignment for these projects before they are swallowed up by incremental development.

“Funding needs to be committed to finish stage 2 of the Doncaster Rail Feasibility Study and work should begin now to protect the preferred alignment identified in the Rowville Rail Study,” Cr Lockwood said.

Cr Lockwood said the ETC also welcomed the commitment to remove a number of level crossings across the eastern suburbs, and looked forward to details of when these would proceed.

“We hope that we will have the opportunity to work with the government to ensure that these projects are built in a way that will best meet the needs of commuters and maximise their value both for the government and local communities,’’ Cr Lockwood said.