Earlier today state leader of the opposition, Daniel Andrews announced that if elected in November a state Labor Government would invest $5 million to upgrade the Huntingdale station bus loop. The plans have been rolled into Labor’s transport campaign which includes 24hr public transport and the elimination of Victoria’s 50 worst level crossings.
The plan – which was designed and costed by Monash University – consists of a large redevelopment of the station and will include a taxi rank, well lit bus terminals, new traffic lights and bike facilities. The gravel car park across from the road has not been included in Monash’s redevelopment scheme.
“Monash Clayton is growing and Labor’s plan will be to make it faster and easier to commute” says Mr. Andrews. “This isn’t just a gateway for Monash, but a gateway for the entire South East”.
Huntingdale station is one of the terminals for what has been called the most frequently used bus service in the state, the 601 bus which ferries students and staff to and from Huntingdale station. An estimated 6000 – 8000 staff and students pass through the interchange each day.
The station wasn’t designed with this kind of high traffic in mind and as such current arrangement leaves commuters open to peril. The bus loop is unlit and obscured and the crossing often ignored entirely by pedestrians.
Students and staff are pleased that someone has taken the need to upgrade this station seriously, especially after the Coalitions state budget earlier in the year made no mention of the much needed upgrades that had apparently been under negotiation.
Monash’s Vice Chancellor Margaret Gardner welcomed today’s pledge. “With a 58 percent increase in passenger numbers to the Clayton Campus in the last two years, the existing facilities are already at capacity and the new development is imperative to keep pace with the expected growth in student numbers in the coming years”. Monash will also plans to invest $200,000 in the upgrades should there be a change in government come November.
MSA President Benjamin Knight also welcomed Labor’s commitment to both Monash commuters and residents. “For too long, thousands of students have had to cross a busy road and line up in an unsheltered, unsafe and poorly lit bus stop.”
“The Monash Student Association, in conjunction with Monash University, has been lobbying and campaigning for some time to see these improvements to the station”.
With the Coaltion’s plans to take the Pakenham, Cranbourne and Frankston lines off of the city loop, this pledge sounds like long overdue good news for public transport commuters in the South East. Recent changes to ticketing laws now mean that you can be issued with an immediate fine for many offences of $75 or choose to contest the offence and risk a fine of over $200. Students will no doubt be the disproportionate receivers of these fines, especially during exam season where many students feel the ever watchful eye of inspectors looking to take advantage of stressed and exasperated students.