Doncaster bus ride invitation from Greens rejected by Daniel Andrews

Manningham Leader: Doncaster bus ride invitation from Greens rejected by Daniel Andrews. Anna Chisholm. 16 October 2014

Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews was happy to join the queue at Huntingdale bus station earlier this year but is refusing a Greens invitation to ride a crowded bus service from Doncaster to the city.

Greens Leader Greg Barber challenged Mr Andrews to experience the daily squeeze on a Transdev bus service from the Doncaster Park and Ride, after an overhaul of the system earlier this year.

Mr Barber said Labor should be supporting alternative transport like Doncaster Rail or improved bus services after backing away from the East West Link.

Mr Andrews’s refusal comes as private bus company SuitJet prepares its first run from Templestowe to the CBD on Monday. Continue Reading…

Manningham Council continues its fight for a rail line to Doncaster

Manningham Leader: Manningham Council continues its fight for a rail line to Doncaster. Anna Chisholm. 11 September 2014

Manningham Council says it will continue to fight for a rail line to Doncaster.

Manningham Council has not given up the fight for Doncaster Rail, despite the State Government’s delayed release of the final phase one Doncaster Rail study.

Public Transport Minister Terry Mulder’s spokeswoman, Jess Maguire, said the phase one final recommendations report had been received by government for consideration and the response to the findings, including details of further work to be undertaken, would be released in the coming weeks.

Phase two of the study is said to include more detailed planning on heavy rail options or consider alternatives.

Koonung Ward Cr Stephen O’Brien, who replaced Cr Jennifer Yang as a Doncaster Rail Advocacy Steering Committee member, questioned the report’s significance.

“The devil’s in the detail,” he said.

“I’m hoping there will be quite a substantial direction and support for the rail in there, rather than just stringing the community along.

“I’m looking for something substantial and not just waffle.

“More studies will get people’s hopes up.”

Council will be spending $20,000 this financial year on campaigning and events to advocate for heavy rail.

Cr O’Brien said if the final report was not going ahead, the community needed to push for “plan B”.

“Realistically, we have left it too late,” he said.

“If it’s not going ahead, put us out of our misery.

“But we want to keep it alive and my job is to advocate for it very strongly.”

He said if there was no commitment or funding, it would mean looking into a dedicated bus lane with grade separation to the city.

“The razzamatazz might have gone out of it,” he said.

“But you can’t just walk away from the strategy for Doncaster Rail.

“We want this rail line and it’s important to have it.”

Cr O’Brien said the $20,000 was for promotions and marketing including an occasional stand at Westfield Doncaster.

Cr Yang stepped down from the committee after announcing she would be campaigning for Labor, for the Mount Waverley state seat.

The committee plan to meet in October or November, in the lead up to the State Election.

The State Government in February announced a $47 million upgrade of the Doncaster Area Rapid Transit (DART) bus service, by upgrading Hoddle Street and Victoria Parade.

It will include a free-flowing exit off the Eastern Freeway, along with upgraded bus stops.

State Government silent on claim Manningham is missing out on rail link because the area votes Liberal anyway

Manningham Leader: State Government silent on claim Manningham is missing out on rail link because the area votes Liberal anyway. Anna Chisholm. 19 May 2014

The State Government ­neglected several key transport projects for Manningham in the Budget because the area is a Liberal heartland, a councillor says.

Cr Stephen O’Brien said the Napthine Government’s decision to fund certain Doncaster Area Rapid Transit and rail projects over others was aimed at winning marginal seats.

“Warrandyte and Bulleen are pretty safe liberal seats,” he said. “Poor old Doncaster (Rail) seems to be forgotten.”

Manningham Council chief executive Joe Carbone said he was disappointed the government did not commit to more bus and tram services in ­Manningham.

“Council is seeking future investment for other crucial DART projects, such as the Bulleen Kiss and Ride facility and bus priority measures along the Eastern Freeway and through Doncaster Hill,” he said.

Mr Carbone said while the council welcomed the ­upgrade of the Hoddle Street and Victoria Parade project, it wanted the final Doncaster Rail study, phase one recommendations report, released this year.

“It is also disappointing there has been no mention of Doncaster Rail, particularly any commitment to complete the feasibility study, including phase two,” he said.

A spokeswoman for Transport Minister Terry, Mulder, Jess Maguire ­would not say when the Government planned to fund the rest of the municipality’s transport projects or respond to Cr O’Brien’s assertion that voting patterns meant the area kept missing out on rail.

Ms Maguire said the Government was investing $47 million for the Victoria/Hoddle bus upgrade project as part of the transit ­improvement package.

She said this was part of the $108 million East West Link package.

“These works will ­improve bus travel times for the nearly 20,000 daily bus commuters along Victoria Parade and Hoddle Street and this is widely supported by people who use these bus services on a daily basis,” she said.

Public Transport Victoria (PTV) spokesman Helen Witton said they remained committed to delivering the Bulleen Kiss and Ride facility by late 2014.

“PTV and Transdev have met with Manningham Council to discuss bus service proposals for the area,” she said.

STATE GOVERNMENT RESPONSE IN FULL

“The Victorian Government is investing $47 million for the Victoria/Hoddle bus upgrade project as part of the Doncaster Area Rapid Transit (DART) improvement package. The Coalition Government announced this in February as part of a $108 million East West Link package of public transport improvements.

“These works will improve bus travel times for the nearly 20,000 daily bus commuters along Victoria Parade and Hoddle Street and this is widely supported by people who use these bus services on a daily basis.

Victoria Parade and Hoddle Street not only carry a bus per minute during peaks, but tens of thousands of vehicles per day, making the efficient movement of people into and out of Central Melbourne a major economic priority for Victoria.

The works will provide new dedicated bus lanes along Victoria Parade, upgraded bus stops, signalling improvements to give greater priority to public transport and improved bicycle and pedestrian connections.

Jess Maguire — Media Adviser

Office of the Honourable Terry Mulder (Minister for Public Transport and Roads)

OUR QUESTIONS IN FULL

1. Has Manningham missed out because it is such a “safe” Liberal seat for the Napthine Government?

2. When does the State Government plan to fund the rest of Manningham’s transport projects?

3. Council is seeking future investment for other crucial DART projects — will this be funded and when?

4. The Bulleen Kiss and Ride facility and bus priority measures along the Eastern Freeway — will this be funded and when?

5. Bus priority measures through Doncaster Hill, including a feasibility study to investigate grade-separating buses through Doncaster Hill and improving the bus interchange facilities on the hill — will this ever be funded and when?

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