Improved rail service would be boon for region: report
An improved rail service would mean an increase in passenger numbers and an economic boost for the region, according to a study undertaken by the local councils and action groups.
The Hume Corridor Passenger Rail Study was a collaborative effort between AlburyCity, Wodonga, Wangaratta and Benalla councils with the Border Rail Action Group (BRAG).
The study, which included more than 1100 responses to a community survey late last year, found that the sub-standard nature of the passenger rail service resulted in about 385,000 less train trips.
An improved service that could deliver a minimum of 75 per cent or more than 385,000 additional passenger rail trips a year would see an economic boost of $113 million.
The study found if the service was improved, 59 per cent of users would choose rail over other transport options and 65 per cent would undertake additional trips.
Of those not presently using the train, 72 per cent would take the train and 57 per cent would undertake additional trips if the service was improved.
Wodonga Mayor Cr Anna Speedie said communities knew the service was performing poorly but the study put some real data behind the anecdotal evidence.
“This study has allowed us to really understand our communities’ needs and expectations for the rail service now and into the future and also how often they use it and why they use it,” Cr Speedie said.
“As a regional area, many of our people rely on reliable public transport to access services including health and entertainment, and it is important we continue to work with all levels of government to ensure the best possible rail service for our community.”
The alliance of councils and BRAG are presenting the recommendations of the report to Ministers at all levels of government, using the data from the study to support calls for funding and upgrades of the service.
“We ask the Federal and State governments to work to prioritise the planning and development of the service and infrastructure along the Hume corridor, focus on reducing journey times, provide more services and more frequent services and ensure our region is serviced by modern rolling stock,” Cr Speedie said.
The report will be presented to the four councils for their endorsement over the coming weeks.
Last updated: 20-03-2017
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