500 percent squeeze

Train pain ahead. 196128_22

By Mitchell Clarke

As the shire continues to boom, motorists are forced to choose between sitting in gridlock or squeeze into public transport carriages, with new figures from the Department of Transport showing patronage at Officer train station has surged by 537 per cent.

Between 2013 and 14, the number of commuters at the station was just 19,000 people, increasing to a staggering 123,000 people from 2018 and 19.

Member for Gembrook Brad Battin has hit out at the state government, claiming they’ve failed to provide the vital services for the last 16 out of 20 years they’ve held power.

“Labor have left Officer residents with two choices for their daily commute; be stuck on the Monash or be packed in like sardines on the Pakenham Line,” he said.

“The south east is at a standstill. Cardinia resident’s daily commute is only getting longer and they’re being forced to spend less time with their families.”

The state government said they were working alongside Metro to reduce crowding as the city waits for the completion of the $11 billion Metro Tunnel to alleviate pressure off the busiest lines.

“Since 2015, we’ve added more than 530 new weekly train services, with close to 100 of those in peak hour, to reduce crowding and improve services for locals,” Minister for Public Transport Melissa Horne said.

The Metro Tunnel is expected to be complete by 2025.

Meanwhile, Mr Battin has accused the government of failing to provide for Officer, with Premier Daniel Andrews not yet providing a start date for an additional 500 car parks at Officer Station.

“Under Daniel Andrews, Victorians are having their quality of life diminished, having no escape from the peak-hour chaos,” Mr Battin added.

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