The Maroondah Journal and a number of eastern suburban papers have covered my recent resignation from the Public Transport Users Association.
A vocal member of Melbourne’s key public transport lobby group has resigned amid concerns the organisation is failing as an effective lobbyist for the eastern suburbs.
“I felt there was a lack of support from people on the committee. We really need to start making inroads into effective and efficient public transport in Melbourne’s outer suburbs this is where the focus is lacking.”
The outer east and southeastern branches have achieved a number of successes over the past few years including:
- Knox commissioned pre-feasibility study into the Rowville rail line;
- Manningham commissioned study into the Doncaster Road (tram 48) extension;
- Advocacy from Maroondah City Council over upgrades to Ringwood Station;
- Introduction of the Stud Road SmartBus, due in 2008. This will provide frequent services through to midnight between Ringwood, Knox Dandenong and Frankston;
- Introduction of SmartBus services along Warrigal Road;
- Improved cleanliness and repair response times at Dandenong Station;
- A consistent level of service for bus routes across metropolitan Melbourne. These standards will provide a basis for further improvements, if continued advocacy occurs.
Even though the State Government has failed to deliver the necessary infrastructure required for Melbourne’s eastern and southeastern suburbs, a strong community voice has emerged with public transport being seen as an issue critical to the wellbeing of Melbourne’s suburbs.
“While I have resigned from the PTUA, I certainly plan on remaining active in transport advocacy and in particular focusing on the needs of middle and outer suburban residents. We really need an organisation that encompasses an emphasis on these suburbs and looks at planning and community issues.”
Local communities are best placed to advocate for the public transport improvements that affect them. Public transport advocates need to work with local communities, since Melbourne’s outer suburbs should be the frontline in public transport campaigning. If the planning for new developments and growth areas does not include the simultaneous introduction of public transport then we will always be facing a losing battle.
“Communities need to find their voice and directly advocate for much needed service improvements. Sustainable transport and public transport advocacy has been and will remain a passsion of mine.”
I intend to work with local community groups to ensure that they find their voice and are able to undertake a grassroots campaign focused on public transport improvements. An organisation that is managed from a centralised committee and limits the input of local residents will unfortunately always have a limited impact.