The Eastern Transport Coalition is looking forward to some good public transport news when the State Budget is delivered on Tuesday, ETC spokesperson Cr Samantha Dunn said today.

“Over the past year the State Government has taken steps towards addressing public transport needs in the east, with the first stage of feasibility studies completed for both Rowville Rail and Doncaster Rail,’’ Cr Dunn said.

“Both studies have been positive and the government should now maintain the momentum and provide funding to continue planning for these two important projects,” she said.

 “We also hope to see a significant increase in funding for bus services which, for many residents in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs, is the only public transport within a reasonable distance of their homes.”

A lack of coordination between services, inadequate frequency, insufficient coverage and already congested roads, means that the existing bus network is uncompetitive with car travel.

The 2010 Metropolitan Bus Service Review was intended to identify and address these issues, however to date only around 8 per cent of the review’s recommendations have been implemented.

Cr Dunn also urged the government to maintain a focus on grade separations and welcomed the funding that has already been provided to remove level crossings in Mitcham, Springvale, Blackburn and Bayswater.

“The government has recognised the frustration that level crossings pose for road users and the limitations it creates in the entire public transport network and we look forward to the removal of other level crossing trouble spots in the future,” she said.

“Good public transport underpins a sustainable community. Efficient, accessible and affordable public transport provides a wide range of social, environmental and economic benefits.

“The cost of failing to deliver an integrated public transport system will be felt by the entire community through overcrowding on existing public transport, worse congestion on our roads and lost productivity.”