The Eastern Transport Coalition, RACV and Monash University will each be stating their case for the critical need for improved public transport in Melbourne’s east during the Commuters Count Transport Summit held on Wednesday, April 9.

ETC Chairperson, Cr Peter Lockwood said a reliable, integrated public transport network was critical to continued economic growth in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs and for the social connectedness of local communities, some of who are almost completely car-reliant.

He said projects like Rowville Rail, for example, were critical to supporting Monash University as an economic hub in Melbourne’s east, while reducing the costs to business that result from increasing road congestion.

Paul Barton from Monash University will be speaking about their concerns at the summit, as will Brian Negus, RACV’s General Manager for Public Policy.

Mr Negus said the RACV has long called for a balanced and integrated approach to transport improvements to help address Melbourne’s “growing congestion crisis”.

“Among RACV’s top improvements are city-shaping projects like the complete East West Link and Metro Rail Capacity Project, as well as completing the Metro Ring Road through the north east and the Airport Rail Link,” Mr Negus said.

“Further to this, RACV’s Growing Pains project identified a large backlog of road and public transport infrastructure and services within Melbourne’s eastern suburbs, including the need for improved bus services, new and upgraded railway stations, grade separations and more station car parking.

“Addressing the backlog, and ensuring new communities aren’t built with the same problems, is critical to maintain the liveability of Melbourne and ensure it remains efficient and competitive for business.”

Recent research conducted for the Eastern Transport Coalition found that the majority of people surveyed agree with the priorities expressed by the RACV.

The Eastern Suburbs Transport Poll showed that 55 per cent of people believe the government needs to invest in both major rail and road projects, and that traffic will get much worse over the next 10 years if they are not built.

Cr Lockwood said the Commuters Count Transport Summit was a unique event that would bring together representatives from each of the major parties alongside other key stakeholders in the transport arena, and was a golden opportunity to examine policies and promises prior to the election.

He urged all those with an interest in improving Melbourne’s public transport to join the discussion either at the summit which will be held on Wednesday, April 9 from 9am at the City of Greater Dandenong community facility at Springvale Reserve, Newcomen Road, Springvale, via the ETC’s Commuters Count Facebook page or the hash tag #commuterscount on Twitter.