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PUBLIC Transport Victoria will consider extra weekend train services to and from Melbourne, a Werribee to Geelong shuttle train and will review controversial bus network changes.
In Geelong for the $3.65 billion Regional Rail Link opening, chief executive Mark Wild said PTV would be closely monitoring patronage statistics on the new train and bus services and reviewing them in six months’ time.
“We have committed to a full review,” Mr Wild said.
He said communities usually took longer to adjust to changes to buses than to trains but they were listening to concerns.
“(RRL) does add journey time but I think people will value the reliability and the extra services of every 10 minutes in and 20 minutes out of Melbourne (during the peak on weekdays),” Mr Wild said.
MPs John Eren and Christine Couzens get aboard the Cats train.
“Hourly services on the weekends are just the start, if people use it we’ll look at increasing it.
“I think there’s plenty of potential.”
Mr Wild said the two new stations Wyndham Value and Tarneit were built to handle significant patronage growth, and a “very long-term plan” could have them linked to the Werribee Metro line.
Allaying concerns about overcrowding on the Melbourne-bound trains during the peak, Mr Wild said four services a morning would start at Wyndham Vale to meet suburban demand.
He said while Wyndham Council’s suggestion for a Werribee to Lara or Geelong shuttle was “impossible in the peak”, the tracks would remain in case it became feasible.
“But first we need to see if the bus (between Werribee and Wyndham Vale) works, which I think it will,” Mr Wild said.
Lara MP John Eren said the largest infrastructure spend ever in Victoria would deliver more work and play opportunities for regional Victorians.
“With Simonds Stadium becoming a Trust, there will be more events here so it’s important to have reliability,” he said.
“We need to get the confidence of the community again and keep up with population growth.
“There’ll be 200 extra services on the Geelong line every week, it’s a really exciting time.”
Federal Corangamite MP Sarah Henderson said RRL would unlock affordable housing options across the region and deliver commuters to the city in the same time as those in the outer eastern suburbs of Melbourne.
This article first appeared on www.geelongadvertiser.com.au
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