The Eastern Transport Coalition (ETC) has constructively submitted to many Victorian and Commonwealth government forums, reviews, inquiries and consultation processes in the most recent years regarding the provision of sustainable transport options for the eastern region of metropolitan Melbourne.

The respective communities represented by the ETC have been vocal supporters of improved public transport in Melbourne’s eastern metropolitan region. This is well documented by outcomes from community surveys, community engagement and consultation.

A recent survey or 592 rail commuters across the ETC catchment area validates this assertion:

  • 71 per cent of commuters using the Doncaster Park and Ride want a rail line to Doncaster;
  • 51 per cent of commuters using Belgrave station want more services along the Belgrave / Lilydale lines;
  • 50 per cent of commuters using Box Hill station want more services along the Belgrave /Lilydale lines;
  • 33 per cent of commuters at Monash University want a rail line to Rowville, and 24 per cent want more services along the Dandenong line; and
  • 52 per cent of commuters at Glen Waverly want more services on the Glen Waverley line.

Historical underinvestment in rail infrastructure and services has led to a relative decline in public transport usage when compared to annual vehicle kilometres travelled in private vehicles. Much of eastern metropolitan Melbourne is characterised by very high levels of car ownership due to insufficient public transport options, causing an over – reliance on private vehicle use and infrequent and less reliable bus services – where they exist. The health, social and environmental costs associated with inadequate public transport services are growing due to this imbalance.

In its recent inquiry into the costs of congestion, the Victorian Competition and Efficiency Commission (VCEC) found that the economic costs associated with road congestion in Melbourne is between $1.3 billion and $2.6 billion annually1. In contrast, investment in rail infrastructure and service improvements will substantially reduce economic costs caused by congestion, improve access and equity for outer suburban residents and provide substantial environmental benefits.