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The announcement of more than $43 million in funding towards Shepparton rail in this year’s Victorian Budget was widely applauded.
A sober reality remains that the benefits associated with the funding will not be visible overnight.
Or this year, nor likely next year.
Particularly welcome, then, were a couple of additional coach services revealed as part of the package.
Set to come into affect in the new year, they will be scheduled to meet up with the vastly greater number of daily Seymour-Melbourne services.
It appears consultation will soon be under way to determine the times these services best fit.
State Member for Shepparton Suzanna Sheed has weighed in early with some suggestions which, broadly speaking, make sense.
They revolve around some key ideas.
She supported coaches which helped commuters arrive in Shepparton before 9am on a weekday, board return services shortly after 5pm and opening up a late-night Saturday service to Shepparton, and with it the possibility of returning to Shepparton after events at night in Melbourne.
It remains virtually impossible to commute via public transport between Melbourne and Shepparton at the moment. It’s a long and arduous task, and the timetable doesn’t easily accommodate a nine-to-five workday at present.
Even if new coaches were placed at the times suggested, it still won’t be an easy prospect.
But the option will be there, one which could particularly benefit those needing to commute one day a week, or to and from Monday to Friday for work or study.
Currently, if Sheppartonians wish to attend an evening event in Melbourne, the options are to drive home late at night, or spend the night there, which is a costly exercise.
Again, opening up the option for locals to feasibly attend sport, music, theatre or food options in the state’s capital would be beneficial.
Key in this discussion is that opening up these services and options could serve to establish a patterns of behaviour.
So that once essential track works are completed, and new trains are coming at these times, a seamless transition can occur, with a reasonable commuter base to support the services already using them.
This article first appeared on www.sheppnews.com.au
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