PT funds needed

Investment in better public transport vital, the RBTU says in its 2015 Victorian Budget submission

A huge investment in public transport funding has been requested by the Victorian division of the Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU), in its submission to the Victorian Government’s budget.

Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas will deliver the 2015-16 Victorian budget on May 5 and Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey will deliver  the national budget one week later.

The RTBU has more than 8000 members in Victoria alone and says the system will not cope, unless further investments are made in this year’s state budget.

"A commitment to an expanded program of investment will not only ensure the ongoing viability of the system itself but also underpins the productivity of the Victorian economy for years to come," the submission reads.

"In order to cope with the forecast growth in demand for train and tram services, the RTBU believes the Government should commit, in this year’s budget, to increase and accelerate the delivery of network investments and expansions.

The three critical key areas where funds must be invested are rolling stock, infrastructure and customer service across all modes of public transport.

"Unless these measures are put in place quickly, public expectations for service reliability, customer service, safety and security will not be able to be met."

Recommendations include 200 ticket inspectors, a rail and tram stock replacement and refurbishment program­ – starting with 45 new trains, 120 new trams and a commitment to manufacture preferably locally-designed buses, trains and trams.

Other requests are to increase the frequency of services on the busiest routes, make existing rail lines into double rail lines in Melbourne’s outer suburbs, increase in the number of infrastructure and maintenance staff and a funding boost for critical infrastructure and maintenance machinery.

The RTBU’s submission respectfully acknowledges previous funding commitments made to public transport by the Victorian Government, but explains that more needs to be done to meet future needs.

"The large increase in patronage levels over the last decade has made the timely delivery of these commitments critical in meeting the demands placed on Victoria’s public transport system.

However the RTBU believes that there is a strong case for further investment in our public transport and freight systems."

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