I'm not quite sure what you mean but those light rail and bus connections are street transit. The Upfield line is the closest off-street transit to the University, yet someone suggested diverting the South Morang line to serve it instead. Wierd.
Heavy and Metro rail serve medium to long distance. Light Rail serves short distance. Therefore, you don't really need the closest line to be diverted in that direction.
I am very interested in improving transit, and especially off-street transit. It seems the diverting the Upfield line would increase patronage because it serves the northern suburbs a popular living area for University students and staff and a diverted Upfield line would also serve the University. One reason given against it is that it is already well served, but it is only served by lower capacity street transit.
They live in the Northern Suburbs because the transit is already good to the university there is little patronage to be gained south of the Ring Road and very little south of Bell Street in the north. The western and outer northern suburbs do not currently have good transit. The Metro tunnel is aimed at improving heavy transit to the Western Suburbs. Moving V/Line trains to the Upfield Line will have a flow on effect of improving heavy transit in the outer north.
Lower capacity street transit is more than suitable for the shorter distances between the inner north and Parkville. People coming in from the outer North can train in and change closer to university. Tram capacity is constantly increasing. Platforms are becoming more accessible and as they are, other works are helping with getting them out of congestion. A tram every 5 or 6 minutes in many cases may be better than a train every 10 or 15.
You know what? It's not just about Whittlesea being closer. One reason given against undergrounding the Upfield line is that it is planned to be used for VLine trains to Seymour, and the reason given for that, in turn, is running extra suburban trains to Craigieburn. But if we instead extend the tracks of the Mernda line to Seymour, then extra suburban trains can run on the Craigieburn line and the Upfield line can be undergrounded.
And how would you get the V/Line trains to Whittlesea in the first place? Across the Flinders Street Viaduct where they would have to cross every suburban line? Reinstate the inner circle railway which would use your precious Upfield Line and disrupt that anyway?
To serve Mernda and Wollert there will need to be 24 or more trains per hour between Parkville and Epping, meaning there is no room for services beyond Seymour.
Please go and read the Network Development Plan, realize that it is actually a very good document written by some very smart people who are experts in urban planning and transit and read the justification about the options they have proposed. Some ideas are not good ideas and do not stand up under critical examination. This is one of them. In 40 years, maybe then we can talk about improving capacity in the inner north. Until then, the PTV plan will serve.