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CATCH the bus. That’s the advice of Public Transport Victoria in response to the parking crush at South Morang train station.
PTV told the Leader they won’t be making any changes to improve car parking at the station and instead, people should leave their cars at home and catch a bus to the station.
As reported in Whittlesea Leader last week, parking at the station has reached breaking point, with police calling for something to be done to stop illegal parking as they were issuing up to $8000 in fines every day.
PTV spokesman John Lindsay said South Morang station already had one of the largest car parks on the metro rail network, with about 900 spaces and commuters should explore using one of the several bus routes that serviced the station, which were designed to connect with trains in the morning and evening peak.
Mr Lindsay said the only improvements to car parking arrangements would come with the completion of the Mernda Rail Extension, expected in 2019, which would “add up to 2000 additional car parking spaces across the three new stations at Mernda, Hawkstowe and Marymeade”.
Residents have swamped the Whittlesea Leader Facebook page following last week’s story, venting their anger at the council and PTV.
One reader, Carla Harrison, said she had tried catching the bus from Doreen to Greensborough station and it took her an extra hour, meaning she would spend up to five hours a day travelling to and from the city.
Meanwhile, the South Morang and Mernda Rail Alliance will approach the State Government and the Level Crossing Removal Authority with suggestions on how to solve the parking situation.
Alliance spokesman Darren Peters said the situation had to come to a head and something needed to be done now so people could park legally and get to work.
Mr Peters asked the 8000-plus members of the alliance to come up with ideas and the top suggestion was to build the car parks for the three stations on the Mernda Rail Extension now and have buses shuttling people to the South Morang station.
“I like this idea, it could be the silver bullet we need to alleviate the South Morang parking issue very quickly. They have to build the car parks anyway, so why not just build them now?” Mr Peters said.
Other suggestions included converting the South Morang Station carpark into a multistorey carpark, increase bus services during peak hours and increased and better storage for bicycles.
Mr Peters hoped the problems at South Morang would serve as a wakeup call.
“It can be expected the same thing will happen when new stations open so they have to make sure the bus services are working from day one and the cycling infrastructure is ready to go,” he said.
“South Morang was a victim of its own success, so let’s just hope its problems aren’t reciprocated.”
This article first appeared on www.heraldsun.com.au
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