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A second Metro Tunnel would be built and Melbourne’s railways upgraded to 10-minute services under a Victorian Greens blueprint for the public transport network.
Ahead of the State Budget, the Greens have unveiled their Rail to Recovery wishlist which outlines billions of dollars in spending to improve the state’s current system.
Under the scheme, a massive boost to drivers, signalling upgrades and manufacturing hundreds of high-capacity trains and trams would help improve the number of available services.
Melbourne Metro 2, a proposed rail tunnel connecting Newport and Clifton Hill through Fishermans Bend, would also be built along with light rail in regional cities.
Prahran MP and Greens transport spokesman Sam Hibbins said while massive projects were important, the party was calling for an immediate boost to normal operations.
“That creates jobs straight away as transport infrastructure typically has a long lead in time,” he said.
“That operational boost would get more drivers and staff on to the network and make the system a lot more people friendly.”
Mr Hibbins said it was likely peak-hour patronage would remain lower than usual for some time and more attention was needed for travel outside these hours.
“We need to start catering for parents or carers dropping kids at school or essential workers travelling at all hours of the day,” he said.
“The reality is people shouldn’t be waiting 15 to 20 minutes for a train service in metropolitan Melbourne.”
The Andrews Government expects the Metro Tunnel will create spaces for another 500,000 passengers per week and has ordered the city’s first fleet of high-capacity trains to run through this new stretch of railway.
But public transport advocates have also called for more work to be done on smaller fixes to the network, such as timetables changes and track upgrades to boost the number of trains that can on busy railway lines.
Mr Hibbins said the Greens proposal would implement many of these changes.
He said the cost of the entire scheme could equal the $50 billion estimated for the Suburban Rail Loop but provide more targeted improvements.
“You could double peak-hour capacity with the right investment,” he said.
The party has called for the rollout level-access tram stops to be finished across the network urgently.
It comes after a auditor-general report identified the state had failed its legal requirements for disability access and was at risk of legal action.
This article first appeared on www.heraldsun.com.au
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