The Eastern Transport Coalition has welcomed the public transport focus in the State Government’s Plan Melbourne document released today, but warned it would become another empty transport plan unless it was backed by substantial investment.
Cr Dunn said the Plan Melbourne strategy acknowledged the importance of the Melbourne Metro to an improved public transport system and integrated planning for Melbourne.
“The plan talks about harmonising public transport services across trains, trams and buses to provide better connectivity, removing level crossings and improving suburban rail and bus networks in growth areas and outer suburbs, goals that the ETC shares,” Cr Dunn said.
“Of course, previous government plans, some of them dating back decades have talked about the same thing.
“The former Metropolitan Town Planning Commission’s 1929 Plan of General Development and the 1969 Melbourne Transportation Study highlighted the need for rail lines for the then growth areas of Doncaster and Rowville.
“Subsequent studies, reports and plans have also supported these projects but without funding, they remain nothing more than decade’s old plans.
“Melbourne should not have to wait any longer for rail expansion. This new plan once again makes it clear that expanding and improving public transport around Melbourne is necessary and we urge the Government to take the next step – fund it and build it.”
Cr Dunn said the idea of a 20-minute neighbourhood contained in the plan was also an admirable goal, but would only work if supported by improved public transport, particularly improved and expanded bus services.
Cr Dunn encouraged commuters to share their thoughts about the plan via the ETC’s Commuters Count Facebook page or the hash tag #commuterscount on Twitter.
“The ETC’s Commuters Count campaign, launched in August this year, has been aimed at getting Melburnians talking about public transport and sharing their stories and frustrations and hopes for better public transport in the future,’’ she said.
“This new Plan Melbourne strategy will set the direction the Government will take over the next 40 years. If residents in Melbourne’s east want to receive more than they have in the past 40 years, now is the time to make your opinions known.’’