Doncaster bus ride invitation from Greens rejected by Daniel Andrews

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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.

A spokesman for Mr Andrews, Murray Newton, said Labor would not be told what to do by those who “don’t want to compromise and don’t live in the real world”.

“The Greens are promising the world without costings or a detailed plan — how can anybody take them seriously?” Mr Newton said.

While Mr Newton said Public Transport Victoria’s Network Development Plan identified that capacity would have to be added on the city loop by building Melbourne Metro in order to build Doncaster Rail, public transport advocacy groups claim there is room for the Doncaster Rail line in the existing system.

Public Transport Users Association president Dr Tony Morton said signalling upgrades meant Doncaster Rail and Rowville Rail could be built sooner. He said the Clifton Hill lines were “technically a lot simpler” because there were no V/Line or freight trains to worry about.

Dr Morton said the trains already had their own dedicated path through the city loop and back out to Clifton Hill without crossing any others. He said the Clifton Hill lines had high capacity signalling that worked well and that there was ample room to run six trains per hour to Doncaster.

Dr Morton disputed the State Government and Labor’s statements that there was no room on the existing network as not being entirely correct. He blamed a “timid planning mindset” for lack of progress on Doncaster Rail.

Mr Newton said Labor would build Melbourne Metro to allow for additional lines and increased capacity on Melbourne’s rail network but he did not provide a timeline.

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