Buses better than extending an electric train line – report

A NEW report from Infrastructure Victoria recommends improving bus services to Frankston rather than expanding electric train service to Baxter.

Infrastructure Victoria released its updated 30-year strategy last week. The organization is an independent body which advises the state government on its projects.

Among the recommendations included in the report was an investigation into the deployment of more bus services to Frankston and the Mornington Peninsula over the next year “instead of advancing a rail extension to Baxter”.

The report says that a preliminary business case had considered rail and bus options to improve public transport between Frankston and Baxter, but recommended that “this network reform should take into account the role of bus services in the future.” generation ””.

Modeling of railway extensions in other growing areas of the outer suburbs revealed that they could “encourage more people to move further”.

“An extension of the Frankston Line could create additional pressure for new housing developments in environmentally sensitive and agriculturally important locations on the Mornington Peninsula,” the report said.

He said the precincts of Frankston Station, a designated multimodal transit interchange, “should be the hub for better bus connections to Frankston Metropolitan Business Center, the train station, Chisolm TAFE and the Frankston Hospital “.

“As the station enclosure grows, it will require an upgrade of the intermodal terminal and more bus services to help manage traffic and congestion. [and building on] Victorian government funded enhanced bus services to Mornington Peninsula ”.

The proposed duplication and electrification of the Frankston line at Baxter has been stationary for years. A business case published last year put the total cost of the project at $ 1.3 billion to $ 1.5 billion. The federal government committed $ 225 million for the extension, but the state government did not get on board.

The release of Infrastructure Victoria’s latest report has shocked some groups that have long advocated for the extension of the line. Greater Frankston Business Lobby Group CEO Ginevra Hosking said: “The residents of Frankston were thrown under a bus. Commonwealth money is on the table to build the Frankston Extension today, but the state recommends more studies.

“The final report says five more years are needed for feasibility studies, but in the meantime, the next generation buses will do. It’s a kick in the box on the road again. The public benefits of the railway extension have been well documented, widely disseminated in the community and strongly supported by the main organizations in our region. Continued delays like this put the $ 225 million funding for the extension at risk.

“Provide train service that meets metro standards at the [Monash University] campus is one of the compelling reasons for the long-awaited extension of rail. A train station near Monash would allow six times as many students to access campus by train.

“The report acknowledged that the Frankston multimodal transit interchange – located smack in the middle of the CBD – is unable to handle high traffic volumes and needs to be improved, so how can sending more buses there? -bas solve our problems? “

When launching the report to Australia’s Economic Development Committee last week, Infrastructure Victoria CEO Michel Masson said that “our final recommendations take into account the medium and long term impacts of the global pandemic. Despite the current challenges, Victoria will continue to grow and transform ”.

“Our 30-year roadmap outlines how Victoria can make the most of the infrastructure we already have while ensuring that new infrastructure, such as road and rail projects, delivers maximum value where it is needed most. . The state government is expected to respond to the strategy’s recommendations and its own integrated five-year infrastructure plan over the next year.

First published in Mornington News – August 24, 2021


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