The new train timetables which were introduced on Sunday 8 May did not include any additional services for the Hurstbridge line. Residents of Banyule and Nillumbik rely heavily on the Hurstbridge line to get them to and from work, principally in the Melbourne CBD, but also at intermediate stops.
It has now been revealed (Clay Lucas, “Peak-hour trains still a horror trip,” The Age, 17/5)that trains on the Hurstbridge line are amongst the most overloaded on the entire Melbourne train network. The 7.42 am weekday service stopping all stations from Greensborough is the sixth most crowded service on the network. According to the Metro Train Load Standards Survey it carries an average 971 passengers. This is an overloading factor of 22% as trains with more than 798 passengers are officially considered to be overloaded. Also, the 7.29 am limited express service from Hurstbridge, with 917 passengers, was shown to be the tenth most overcrowded service.
This is further confirmation, not that any is needed, that additional services are desperately required on the Hurstbridge line.
An estimated 55% of people who work in the Melbourne CBD travel to work by public transport. Only about 29% travel as car drivers. Increasing number cycle. The rejuvenation of the Melbourne CBD over the last two decades as a place to work, visit and to live owes much to the public transport system. It is a similar but more muted story for other better performed activity centres in the Melbourne metropolitan area.
If the figures were reversed and 55% of CBD workers attempted to travel by car whilst only 29% travelled by public transport Melbourne would melt down as a viable business and residential location.
Peak hour overloading on the Melbourne rail network has accelerated rapidly from 2005-06 when 8% of services were so affected to 2009-10 when 41% of services were overloaded.
The 40 new trains for Metro will alleviate these symptoms in the short-term but given Melbourne’s growth, more substantial and creative solutions than hitherto seen from a State government are required to maintain city efficiency and liveability. And that includes relief from increasing road traffic congestion in Banyule.
- Peak-hour train pain remains (theage.com.au)