Press conferences today in three Victorian country areas have heralded the return of rail passenger services to four routes that lost services to inferior buses under the previous government.
Media events in Ararat (Premier, Transport Minister Peter Batchelor), in Mildura (MP Russell Savage) and in Bairnsdale (MP Craig Ingram) have announced the return of trains to these cities and towns. Leongatha in South Gippsland is also to have its trains returned, the Premier announced.
Environment Victoria spokesperson, John McPherson from the Regional and Rural Access to Public Transport campaign (RRAPT) welcomed the announcements as a major step on the way to boosting public transport across Victoria. Also a major step in improving quality of life for country people through easier access to increasingly centrallised facilities of all kinds – whether educational, health, commercial or cultural.
Mr McPherson continued: “At Environment Victoria we believe the government is starting to respond to people’s needs and to the vision in our recently released report on country Victorian public transport ‘Driving The Fast Train Further’. The new rail services will need to link effectively to their destinations, this means train services must be frequent and cater for commuters to regional centres as well as Melbourne . Connecting bus services from regions without trains must be boosted to spread the benefits widely and get maximum patronage and maximum return for the government investment.”
“All in all a great start for a public transport revolution but there is still much to do” John concluded.