Moving Maroondah – Sustainable Transport in Maroondah

Moving Maroondah – Sustainable Transport in Maroondah was authored to pre-empt Maroondah Council’s Integrated Transport Strategy (MITS). This submission examines the current level of public transport within Maroondah and recommends a number of recommendations to strengthen the role of public transport and assist in the achievement of Maroondah Council’s and the State Government’s goal of increasing public transport usage.

Recommendations include:

  • Maroondah Council to embark upon a continued public transport advocacy and lobbying campaign that includes a public campaign for improved public transport services within the municipality.
  • Inclusion of Maroondah Highway, Canterbury/Swansea Road, Bayswater Road and Wonga/Warrandyte Roads on the PPTN Network with corresponding service upgrades.
  • Priority implementation for the Ringwood to Frankston SmartBus to ensure service upgrades by the end of 2006. Evening and public holiday services to be introduced by the end of 2005.
  • Priority upgrades of routes 670 and 679 to provide evening and comprehensive weekend services by the end of 2005.
  • Introduction of PPTN services along Bayswater Road connecting Croydon and Bayswater.
  • Introduction of PPTN services from Mooroolbark to Boronia along Manchester and Colchester Roads.
  • Introduction of PPTN services from Croydon to Lilydale via Mt. Evelyn along Mount Dandenong Road.
  • Inclusion of route 737 into the PPTN with an extension to Chirnside Park along Dorset and Lyons Road.
  • Weekday off-peak rail timetables frequencies of 20 minutes to and from Ringwood.
  • Inclusion of Ringwood within Metropolitan Zone Two with the zone overlap extended to Croydon.
  • Redevelopment of Ringwood Station to ensure DDA compliance and increased perception of safety thereby encouraging public transport usage and increasing the perception of Ringwood.
  • Accessible bus stops and low floor buses to provided along routes identified within the PPTN to ensure DDA compliance.
  • Signalling improvements along the Ringwood and Belgrave/Lilydale lines providing safety benefits and faster journey times.
  • Improvement of timetable coordination between bus and train services including frequency improvements along the PPTN bus routes so that they operate at the same frequency as rail services.
  • Rail triplication from Ringwood to Box Hill allowing the introduction of flier trains from Ringwood.
  • Traffic priority for PPTN bus services including the use of HOV lanes along major roads.
  • Principal bus routes must operate at frequencies of 10 minutes during weekdays (15 minutes for evenings and weekends) with hours of operation between 5am to midnight or the last train (whichever is later).
  • Local bus routes should operate with at least 30 minute frequencies on both weekdays and
    weekends, although more frequent services should be provided for busier routes. Hours of operation should be between at least 5am and 10pm.
  • Comprehensive pedestrian and bicycle paths linking public transport stops and key destinations.

Pedestrians Treated Poorly in Ringwood

The current pedestrian hostile environment in Ringwood is hampering efforts to create a a vibrant town centre for Ringwood.

The Ringwood Transit City Community Coalition (RTCCC) issued a media release highlighting current areas of concern within Ringwood and calling for immediate and recognisable improvements.

Media Release – Monday, May 23, 2005

Pedestrians Treated Poorly in Ringwood

The Ringwood Transit City Community Coalition (RTCCC) is demanding immediate improvements to rectify the pedestrian hostile environment within the Ringwood Town Centre.

“Pedestrians form the lifeblood of any town centre through boosting retail trade and creating a vibrant atmosphere”, RTCCC Transport and Planning Spokesperson Alex Makin said. “Unfortunately the current environment in Ringwood is blatantly hostile to the needs of pedestrians and must be improved immediately”.

Survey data compiled by the RTCCC identified a number of pedestrian concerns including the pedestrian crossing along Maroondah Highway between Eastland and Ringwood Station, as well as the crossing across Wantirna Road and the lack of direct pedestrian access between Eastland, Ringwood Market and Ringwood Square.

“The Maroondah Highway crossing between Ringwood Station and Eastland is a hazard for the elderly and people with disabilities”, RTCCC Accessibility Spokesperson Margaret Stevens said. “While other residents have the choice to run across Maroondah Highway in time to catch a bus or train from Ringwood Station, people who have a disability must struggle to cross the Highway in as little as 10 seconds. Otherwise they risk being stuck on the thin median strip seeing nothing but cars speeding past for the next minute and a half”.

Pedestrians are given only 10 seconds to cross Maroondah Highway before the signal begins to flash while vehicular traffic along Maroondah Highway is given 90 seconds before the lights change from green to amber. A second pedestrian crossing across Maroondah Highway was removed in 2003, resulting in the overcrowding of the one remaining crossing from Ringwood Station to Eastland, causing discomfort for people with a disability.

“Ringwood cannot become a vibrant centre until pedestrian issues are rectified; this includes the immediate need to restore the second pedestrian crossing across Maroondah Highway and to provide longer crossing times for pedestrians. The choice is simple, Ringwood either becomes a pedestrian friendly and vibrant centre, or we remain a suburb that people simply drive past” Mr. Makin concluded.

About the Ringwood Transit City Community Coalition (RTCCC):

The RTCCC was formed to strengthen community participation and stimulate open and honest discussion regarding the Ringwood Transit City project. For further details call 0409 136 213 or visit



A Fairer Place To Be?

The Bracks Government’s sixth budget claimed to hold the overall theme of making Victoria A Fairer Place To Be yet while small amounts of funding was allocated for public transport many areas will still remain isolated.

Why was there no announcement towards new public transport infrastructure including the Doncaster Road tram extension (supported by both Boroondara and Manningham Councils) and an honouring of the promises previously made to deliver the full Knox tram extension and the third track to Ringwood?

How can it be claimed that this budget will make Victoria a fairer place to be when general bus service improvements were only allocated $45 million over four years (a mere $11.25 million per year)?

Why must residents of the outer east be kept waiting three years just to enjoy evening and public holiday services to Knox City Shopping Centre as part of the Ringwood to Frankston SmartBus, despite the fact that such improvements could be introduced almost immediately?

Where are the Sunday or evening bus services along our major roads which are required to make Melbourne’s Outer East ‘a fairer place to be’? Bus industry analysts, including the Bus Association of Victoria (BAV) and the Public Transport Users Association (PTU)A estimated that $65 million per annum was required to provide transport choice for the bus dependent parts of Melbourne.
Two-thirds of Melbourne live beyond the rail network and these are the areas that often fail to have Sunday or evening bus services — only 18% of all buses run on a Sunday and even less provide services after 7:00 pm.

These areas are the parts of Melbourne that have been hardest hit by rising petrol prices because public transport is not readily available. The mere $11 million provided by the government will do very little in making Victoria a fairer place to be and will instead continue to condemn many households to continued car dependence and excessive transport expenditure, money that often amounts up to one fifth of a household’s income.
Much more needs to be done before this government can claim to have made a Victoria ‘A Fairer Place To Be’.
Alex Makin

Outer East Branch Convener
Public Transport Users Association

Community Participation within the Transit City Project

Community Participation within the Transit City Project was authored to ensure the aim of wider community participation and consultation within the Transit City Project. Through achieving this aim the community will hold greater confidence in the future of Ringwood and will more willingly accept a reasonable degree of change that will inevitably occur within the future as the project progresses.

It is crucial that the Ringwood Transit City Project gains wide acceptance within the Maroondah Community to ensure its successful implementation. In order to secure this acceptance community participation must be strengthened so that avenues are readily provided to facilitate discussion allow for any applicable responses and action upon any relevant concerns.

This submission contains a number of recommendations relating to the Ringwood Transit City Community Reference Group (CRG) as well as recommendations on engaging the broader Ringwood and Maroondah community.

Breakfast With Brumby

This morning as the Outer East Branch Convener of the Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) I attended the Outer East MP’s 2005 Budget Breakfast.

The keynote speaker was the Treasurer John Brumby who presented an overview of the current Victorian State Budget and its implications for the outer east.

While obviously a number of issues needed to be explored, public transport was provided with just a passing glance. With a total of twelve urban areas being targeted; the paltry sum of $11.25 provided per year from this budget will amount to very little real tangible improvement.

Time was made available for public questions and Pam Usher from the bus operator Invicta stated the need for improved bus services and the need substantial funding to reduce the chronic degree of social isolation that occurs in the outer east, particularly with our youth, our elderly and residents with disabilities.

I also asked a public question, querying what direct actionable results will be provided to ensure an increase in public transport modal share, considering that the modal share of public transport has remained static at 9% for the previous three years.

A whole of government approach consisting of Treasury, Transport and Planning portfolios is required to ensure progress towards the goal of increasing public transport modal share to 20% by the year 2020.

John Brumby did acknowledge the need for further public transport improvements and did mention that next year’s budget might be more positive. While such statements have been made previously it can only be hoped that the government will finally deliver the fundamental bus reforms and improvements that are so urgently required for Melbourne’s outer east.

ERITG : Seizing the Day for Bus Reform

The Eastern Region Integrated Transport Group (ERITG) consists of eight Outer East Councils to provide a regional approach to public transport advocacy.

The current council members include:

  • Knox
  • Greater Dandenong
  • Yarra Ranges
  • Manningham
  • Maroondah
  • Whitehorse
  • Monash
  • Casey

While each member council provides varying degrees of municipal specific public transport advocacy the aim of the regional focus is to provide a united approach to lobbying efforts. ERITG has become much more focused since the last time I spoke and the group is developing a clear sense of advocacy and a list of projects it sees as a priority.

As such it is of no surprise that the poor level of bus services throughout the Outer East is a key focal point for the ERITG.
As the Outer East Branch Convener of the Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) I was invited to provide a presentation outlining key campaign priorities.

This included:

  • The victory over the Ringwood to Frankston SmartBus (which also actively involved Knox and Greater Dandenong Councils);
  • The need for the Doncaster Road Tram Extension (which will allow for the streamlining of bus services);
  • and the active and constructive involvement the PTUA and also the Ringwood Transit City Community Coalition (RTCCC) is providing within the Transit Cities of Ringwood, Box Hill and Dandenong.

This outline of current activities was reinforced by the major topic of my presentation, the fact that Melbourne’s current Metropolitan Bus Contracts will expire in 2007.

The renegotiation over contracts and the fact that a State Election will be held in 2006 provides a real opportunity to ensure a comprehensive reform of Melbourne’s bus services. The concept of zero-based planning; that is the complete redesign of the bus network to ensure frequent and direct services that run seven days a week from 6am to midnight is a real possibility, if this supported by a cohesive push from councils, bus operators and community organisations such as the Public Transport Users Association (PTUA).

To assist in achieving the objective I proposed the establishment of a Steering Committee comprising of member councils, the Bus Association of Victoria (BAV, which is the peak bus industry group) and the Public Transport Users Association (PTUA). I am pleased to say that this motion was passed by the ERITG and that a terms of reference providing an appropriate scope for this committee will be established within the next month.

This is a major step forward in the campaign for comprehensive improvements to the bus network and which will ensure great mobility and relief from rising petrol prices for residents in the outer east.

I am hopeful that with a collective approach we will ensure a major public transport for public transport in Melbourne’s outer suburbs and the outer east.