Councils link up on transport

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Mornington Peninsula and Frankston councils want to meet with the Minister for Public Transport Melissa Horne and Minister for Transport Infrastructure Jacinta Allan to discuss extending the electric train service to Hastings.

The two councils have written to the state government “clarifying their combined support for the electrification of the existing rail line from the Frankston city centre to Hastings on the Mornington Peninsula”, according to a news release from the municipalities.

Frankston mayor Cr Michael O’Reilly said the councils would support “Frankston-Langwarrin as stage one and Langwarrin-Hastings as stage two”.

While acknowledging “the complex consideration for the future metropolitan train network”, both councils opposed locating any stabling or maintenance centres “in valuable green wedge land or altering the urban growth boundary”.

The councils say they are committed to working with Public Transport Victoria and bus companies to ensure that the electrification of rail includes improved bus services and connectivity to support the peninsula and Frankston.

Initial moves by Frankston Council were aimed at extending the electrified line south of Frankston to Baxter. This changed once the shire’s current mayor, Cr David Gill, pointed out that Baxter was within the shire and that extra parking and parking trains could only happen on land zoned green wedge.

“Stage one of this vital public transport project would ease car parking congestion at Frankston station and will directly benefit Frankston’s health and education precinct, which includes Frankston Hospital, Frankston Private Hospital and Monash University Peninsula Campus,” Cr O’Reilly said.

“Given recent major investments within the precinct, including the Victorian government’s $562 million upgrade to Frankston Hospital, it is important to provide the transport infrastructure needed to cater for the expected visitor growth.”

The two municipalities have a combined population of 305,000, with Frankston classed as a metropolitan activity centre and Hastings a major activity centre.

Cr Gill said that with an estimated 82 per cent of the peninsula having no access to bus services and limited access to such services as health and higher education “the region is in desperate need of greater investment into bus services”.

“The shire has the second lowest provision of public transport out of the 31 councils in the Melbourne metro area,” he said.

“The aged, youth and mobility affected deserve at least a basic level of service no matter where they live.

“The existing 788 bus service carries more than half a million passengers annually, with current frequencies from 45 to 100 minutes failing to meet growing demand.

“We need the Victorian and federal governments to get moving on these public transport projects that will deliver better outcomes for our joint communities.”

First published in the Mornington News – 16 April 2019

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