The Maroondah Journal has reported on the State Government’s reaffirming its election promise to abolish zone three in March.
The existence of zone three is one the ongoing inequities of Melbourne’s public transport system, where residents of Ringwood, Lilydale and Dandenong pay for more public transport despite living closer to the CBD than suburbs such as Hurstbridge.
Public Transport Users Association vice-president Alex Makin said zone three was one of the “great inequalities for people living in the outer east.”
The removal of zone three could provide an historic opportunity to increase public transport patronage, if service levels are improved simultaneously with the restructuring of the fare system.
He wanted the Government to better co-ordinate the different modes of public transport.
“We should see an increase in bus patronage as people [travel] to their closest railway stations. People won’t be driving their cars to get to stations in zone two.”
The Government must take this opportunity to demonstrate that Melbourne’s public transport system can function as an integrated network. Service coordination, between bus routes and the rail network, must be improved to provide people with a realistic alternative to driving and thus alleviate parking issues at rail stations.