Maroondah City Council has confirmed the priorities for public transport issues to be advocated through the Eastern Transport Coalition.
Councillor Alex Makin is Maroondah City Council’s representative on the Eastern Transport Coalition, a group of seven outer Eastern metropolitan Councils.
“The Eastern Transport Coalition is an ongoing collegiate of seven Councils that advocates to the Federal and Victorian Governments for sustainable and integrated transport services in Melbourne’s outer East,” said Cr Makin.
“Each year the Eastern Transport Coalition seeks to set objectives for advocacy regarding improved bus services, more rail services and better coordination between modes of public transport,” said Cr Makin.
“At the formal meeting of Council on Monday this week, Council confirmed Maroondah’s public transport advocacy priorities for 2009,” said Cr Makin.
The three priorities are:
- The triplication of the rail line from Box Hill to Ringwood;
- The upgrade of Ringwood Railway Station and the bus interchange, and
- The continued improvements to coverage and service frequency for the bus network within Maroondah.
“As Council’s representative on the Eastern Transport Coalition, I will be ensuring that these priorities are uppermost in the minds of the Coalition and in our advocacy to the State and Federal Government,” said Cr Makin.
Please continue reading to view some background information on these three priorities:
Triplication of the rail line between Box Hill and Ringwood
Triplication of the rail line between Box Hill and Ringwood. At present, the triplication of the Belgrave and Lilydale lines stops shortly after Box Hill Station, narrowing down to two tracks all the way to Mooroolbark Station.
The reduction to a double track imposes capacity limitations that has repercussions throughout the entire length of the line. These capacity limitations have a direct effect on the number of trains and the manner in which trains run to Ringwood and to the stations beyond.
These capacity constraints are significant as Ringwood is the junction for the Belgrave and Lilydale lines.
The extension of the triplication to Ringwood would allow for more frequent trains and provide the opportunity for an express service between Ringwood and Box Hill.
Such an increase in train services would result in a reduction in travel time for rail commuters in Maroondah.
Ringwood Station and the bus interchange
Ringwood Station and the adjacent bus interchange is Maroondah’s primary public transport hub. Nine bus routes and trains from the Belgrave and Lilydale line all travel through this station and bus interchange, resulting in a high number of commuters frequenting this site.
As Maroondah’s major point of access to public transport, it is essential that Ringwood Station and the bus interchange is comfortable, accessible and facilitates easy changing between transport modes.
Currently, Ringwood Station fails existing disability access requirements and lacks passenger conveniences on the main platforms. The station also lacks adequate lighting and is perceived to be unsafe.
These issues will need to be addressed so that the station and bus interchange can better serve the community.
Bus network and services
There are currently 21 bus routes operating within Maroondah, including the 901 Smartbus, two tele–bus services, two regional bus services and the Nightrider service. The duration and frequency of bus services in Maroondah are variable from route to route.
On average, the duration of bus services in Maroondah is between 6am and 8pm on weekdays. On the weekend, the duration of services is reduced to 8am to 7pm and there are still bus routes that do not operate on a Sunday.
The frequency of service changes significantly between peak and off peak times. The average peak frequency is an interval of 15 to 20 minutes. However, during off peak times the average interval extends to 30 minutes or greater.
The current duration and frequency of services is discouraging for people who may consider using buses to access places of employment, shopping, education and social gatherings.
Not being able to access such places conveniently by public transport forces these people to be dependent upon their private vehicles, parents, carers, friends or taxi services for transport.