The Eastern Transport Coalition yesterday met with Minister for Transport Martin Pakula to discuss solutions for transport woes in Melbourne’s east, ETC Chair Cr Samantha Dunn said today.

“We have expressed to Minister Pakula that Melbourne’s eastern suburbs do not have access to adequate public transport and he has committed to working with us to hear the needs of our residents,” she said.

Cr Dunn said that while ETC appreciated the Minister’s sentiments, it was important that action would follow.

“We discussed a range of transport solutions with the Minister, from improved bus services to feasibility studies for rail extensions to Doncaster and Rowville,” Cr Dunn said.

“While Government has said that those rail extensions aren’t in the current Victorian Transport Plan, it’s important that feasibility work is done now so that these projects can be implemented faster,” she said.

ETC members have pointed out that the Victorian Transport Plan is chiefly based on Sir Rod Eddington’s 2008 transport report.

“While the Eddington report resulted in some good planning initiatives for inner Melbourne and the West, it doesn’t consider transport east of Warrigal Road,” Cr Dunn said.

“That’s a clear reason why the VTP is struggling to provide for the million or so residents of Melbourne’s eastern suburbs,” she said.

Cr Dunn said that the recently released Bus Service reviews were an opportunity to make some much needed changes.

“The Smart Bus system is very well patronised, mainly because many people out here don’t have any other choice,” Cr Dunn said.

“But they are bursting at the seams, and the recent reviews don’t provide any timeline for when new and more frequent services might happen,” she said.

“We keep hearing that buses are the answer for the East. If that’s the case it needs to be done right,” Cr Dunn said.