Transport thumbs up

In reply to Rob Johnson’s letter, published in the Weekly on August 24, I would say that he is being very critical of public transport in this city.
I do, however, agree that council is remiss in waiving parking restrictions for new developments in the business area.
I am a regular user of both bus and V/Line and I have found the bus service to be reliable and on time.
Buses are clean and the drivers pleasant and considerate of passenger comfort.
The current fleet of buses have a “kneeling” mechanism which allows the driver to lower the height of the vehicle so that the step down to and from the ground on entering or leaving is easily accomplished.
It is only in peak times that passengers are forced to stand and even then not for long periods.
There are specific seating areas for older and disabled passengers and there is adequate heating and cooling for passenger comfort.
Weekday services seem to cater to the vast majority of people and the interval of half an hour between buses (on route 5 as my example) is not excessive.
I am at a loss to know why Mr Johnson considers the current V/Line fleet of Velocity rail car sets which form the majority of Bendigo area – Southern Cross services, to be cattle trucks.
All of these sets are less than 15 years old. They are quiet, comfortable, generally clean, have very adequate heating/cooling, are toilet equipped and the crews are personable and helpful.
My local station (Epsom) has a large car parking area which is rarely ever more than a third full.
All of the above is not to say public transport in the area is perfect.
Improvements can or should be introduced, for example the evening bus service could be extended and a more frequent weekend timetable be considered with integrated bus/train timetables introduced to accommodate passengers travelling from outside the immediate station area.
On V/Line, upgraded speeds could be implemented by re-introducing double track between Bendigo and Kyneton and eliminating stops south of Kyneton, using an additional stopping service from Kyneton which would follow the Bendigo train.
Also by insisting that Sunbury commuters use the metro service, V/Line would be taking a positive step to eliminating overcrowding on the regional trains.
To ensure reliability there needs to be dedicated regional rail tracks from Sunbury to Southern Cross.
There appears to be more than adequate land reservation to achieve this but once again lack of foresight in planning level crossing removal in the St Albans area has made this more expensive and difficult to achieve.

Trevor Lamb,


Five stars for hospital

As a retired medical specialist, after 46 years around hospitals I am qualified to cast an opinion on Bendigo Hospital.
Having attended the emergency department, and experienced care overnight in a short stay bed, as a semi-emergency patient, this week, (and no, I did not get any special attention), I can confidently award Bendigo Hospital Emergency Department five stars.
People of Bendigo and Bendigo Hospital “catchment zones”, you are privileged to have easy access to no less than a world class service. There is no better. It is not possible.

Dr George Waters (Retired),


Burr under saddle

Congratulations to everyone and anyone who had a hand in the White Night for Bendigo.
It goes without saying that it was a huge success and drew people from far and wide to enjoy the night and all it had to offer.
However, I had one “burr under my saddle” in the lead-up to the evening in question.
I am fairly confident that just about everyone in Bendigo over the last several weeks has been aware of the presence of a gentleman “of no means” camping out on the footpath near the fountain.
Initially, his campsite was on the south eastern side of Mitchell Street but he has since located to the opposite side, perhaps for a change of view.
I had hoped that this peripatetic “king of the road” would have moved on prior to White Night, but alas, there he was laying back on his blankets and swag in full view of the public, visitors and tourists for all to see.
I saw several visitors taking photos of this gent and can only hope they thought it was not indicative of life here in Bendigo.
To alleviate a barrage of letters from outraged citizens I must be crystal clear in what I am saying.
No decent person would want to see the disadvantaged in our society sleeping in the streets or under bridges.
To be homeless is a terrible thing, although some people do make choices in life that lead them to this state of being.
However, I have it on very good authority that the gentleman in question has been approached by numerous well meaning people yet has refused lodgings, food and assistance.
With this in mind, and the ongoing embarrassment he is causing the good people of this city, I would suggest that he has earned the sobriquet of “hobo”.
And as a footnote, if I am approached by one more person outside a supermarket asking for “train fare” or “phone money”, I swear I will blow a gasket.

Eric Lakey,


Congestion continues

Bendigo to Kyneton duplication is not in Daniel Andrews’ and Jacinta Allan’s vocabulary.
Instead the government is pitching for votes in Cranbourne and Clyde.
The following extract is from ABC news with quotes from Jacinta Allan:
Under the plan, eight kilometres of single track between Dandenong and Cranbourne would be duplicated to address the “bottleneck” on the line, Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan said.
She said it was the longest single section of track on Melbourne’s metropolitan train network.
“The problem is with the single track it causes congestion, it causes delays, it means you can’t run more services,” Ms Allan said.
It is interesting and highly amusing that Ms Allan can recognise a bottleneck and congestion on the Maryborough – Ballarat line, the Greensborough to Hurstbridge line $500 million and the Dandenong to Cranbourne line $750 million .
However, Ms Allan is at considerable pains and the capacity to recognise the bottleneck and congestion on the Bendigio to Kyneton, caused by Steve Bracks’ state government penny pinching to reduce the line between Bendigo and Kyneton to a single track with passing loops.
The same reasons that Ms Allan gives to justify the $750 million expense on the Dandenong to Cranbourne line are the same issues that plague the Bendigo to Kyneton line, bottleneck, congestion, delays and you can’t run more services.
Ms Allan can exhibit great and magnanimous budgetary inducements and generosity to the people of Melbourne, but as for the people in her own electorate they have to endure neglect, lack of priority and a continuing congestion.

Scott Ramsay,


Investment the key

Regional Victoria needs a modern and reliable regional rail network if we are going to properly decentralise our population.
But city-centric Labor can’t see past Melbourne.
With a flagship Regional Rail Revival nearly entirely federal government funded – $1.6 billion of the $1.75B is Commonwealth money – and botched delivery of the once-in-a-generation Murray Basin Rail Project, Daniel Andrews has shown again and again why he’s the premier for Melbourne.
By contrast, a Liberal Nationals government will deliver for regional Victoria.
We’ll invest in fast, reliable and comfortable new trains for country Victoria that will get you where you need to be, when you need to be there.
Our plan for better regional rail also includes investigating a dedicated Gippsland rail line out of Melbourne’s south-east, we’ll double the number of return trains to Shepparton and do the work needed to return passenger trains to Mildura.
The solution to Melbourne’s congestion has to include regional Victoria.
Only the Liberal Nationals have a plan for line upgrades, new trains and more so that regional passengers have better, faster and reliable rail services as soon as possible.
Peter Walsh,
Leader of The National Party


Keep hate speech out

Reading Sandra Caddy’s letter in the August 24 edition of the Weekly, I was horrified and pleased at the same time.
Well done to La Trobe for refusing to host Babette Francis, whose viewpoints are archaic and damaging.
Knowing her views on other topics, I shudder to think what she would say about transgender issues. She’s not transgender. She doesn’t have a say. Keep her and other hate speech propagators away from our city.

Kat Ritchie,