Australind passenger services to stay as they are
Planning and Infrastructure Minister Alannah MacTiernan said today that the two daily return services on the Australind train were here to stay.
Ms MacTiernan said the decision met her promise only to introduce changes if they had broad community support.
"It is very clear most people have a strong preference for the Australind to continue to make two return trips a day between Bunbury and Perth," she said.
"The public has had its say and will be reassured by this prompt decision not to change the Australind service."
The Minister said the PTA had been seeking public feedback for the past seven weeks on a proposal to replace the early morning service with a number of coach services linking in with the new Mandurah-to-Perth railway.
"As part of the consultation process, the PTA and my office have received many hundreds of letters, emails and petitions supporting the existing service," she said.
"The survey results have now been completed and confirm that the majority do not want a change."
South-West MLC Adele Farina and Collie-Wellington MLA Mick Murray have also been listening to concerns of local residents.
"Clearly, there has been a groundswell of local support for the Australind across the region in communities that benefit from the service," Ms MacTiernan said.
"What we hope to do now is harness that strong support and see whether it can be translated into reversing the decline of patrons on the early morning service.
"Patronage has fallen slightly in the past 10 years, even though the population in its catchment area has increased by 25 per cent.
"If we can tap into the strong support base for the Australind, we should be able to boost the number of people using the train.
"We have created a data base of all those who made submissions and will be asking for practical suggestions as to how the service could be improved and how to encourage the community to use the train."
The Minister said this support base would be a terrific asset for the train and she would ask Transwa to liaise with these 'friends' of the Australind.
"Transwa's brief will be to seek ways actively of translating this strong expression of support into regular paying passengers on a train service which is already highly valued by the community," she said.