PTUA transport

Outer suburbs missing out on PT options

The government may be embarassed by crowded trains and Myki, but what they should be embarassed about is the sheer number of people who never use public transport because it simply isn’t a viable option for them for any of the trips they make.

So many areas in Melbourne have no PT other than local buses, and most of these run only every 30-60 minutes. It’s no wonder so few people use them and roads are clogged.

Channel 7 interviewed people in the aptly named Transit Place in Tarneit — their only PT is the 444 bus running every 40 minutes — for their views on outer-suburban transport. The report aired on Friday:

I compared some trips from Transit Place to major centres in the west, as well as the CBD, in the Metlink Journey Planner (eg by public transport, in the middle of the day on a weekday) to Google Maps trip planner (by car). The latter is always optimistic, and assumes little or no traffic, but it shows just how poorly the area is served for PT.

Trip to Werribee: PT 45 mins (via Hoppers Crossing); car 20 mins

Trip to Sunshine: PT 84-89 mins (via Hoppers Crossing and Footscray!); car 30 mins

Trip to Flinders St: PT 80-84 mins (via Hoppers Crossing); car 32 mins

And remember, the Journey Planner times are designed so you walk out the door just in time to catch the local 444 bus. On the way home again, you may have to wait up to 39 minutes if you just miss one.

Despite what Graham Currie says, it’s not just low income earners who feel the stress of having to drive everywhere. Many families have multiple cars in the driveway by neccesity, and for each vehicle it’s costing them thousands of dollars a year more than it would if they had useable PT that could replace some of those cars.

You can’t necessarily build rail lines into every suburb, but expanding the successful Smartbus services, offering frequent connections to major destinations, would go a long way to giving more people the option of using PT.

It’s great to see the media giving this issue an airing.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

8 replies on “Outer suburbs missing out on PT options”

@Ozsoapbox, but Julia doesn’t believe in “a big Australia”! Not that this has anything to do with population. It’s just bad planning, and it’s been happening basically since around WW2.

@Ren, haven’t you heard, everybody is meant to be in bed by 7pm.

What happens to the areas designated for “future railways” that some builders leave in their master planned community marketing materials? I always assumed the outer suburbs would be getting train service at some point…

At most a “future railway” might be some vague plan and a reservation put aside as a future option. It doesn’t mean it’ll ever happen — one of the most prominent examples of this is the space in the middle of the Eastern Freeway, allocated to the Doncaster rail line. Been waiting 40 years so far, and not happening any time soon.

Daniel. Extending the 901 smartbus in frankston and ringwood to healsville and mornington will do instead of extending it to tullamraine melbourne airport.

The western suburbs needs to be gridified for public transport infrastrucuture to be effectively implemented. At the moment, there’s a lot of small pissy little laneways on housing estates which some ambulances and fire trucks would have trouble getting into.

Stupid, stupid, stupid housing developers.

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