By Mitchell Clarke
It’s no secret the shire is one of the fastest growing areas in the state with six families moving into Cardinia each day, residents are faced with the gruelling decision of sitting in traffic on the Monash or squishing into a packed train carriage.
New figures from the Department of Transport revealed Officer Station has recorded the biggest passenger increase with a staggering surge of 537 per cent.
From 2018-19, 123,000 passengers were forced to fight for a spot on the train, compared to 2013-14 when only 19,000 users relied on the rail station.
Meanwhile, Cardinia Road Station recorded an increase of 55 per cent, with 382,000 passenger numbers recorded, up from 247,000 in 2013-14.
Just shy of 80 million passengers travel through Melbourne’s City Loop annually with our rail network barely keeping up with the demands of our growing population.
With the state government in the process of rolling out the $11 billion Metro Tunnel project, which is said to alleviate pressure off popular train lines, the opposition is accusing Premier Daniel Andrews of failing to cater for the needs of a booming areas.“The state government have failed to provide the vital services for the growth corridor for the last 16 out of 20 years they have been in government,” Member for Gembrook Brad Battin said.
Expected to be completed by 2025, it’s predicted the tunnel would make room for an extra 500,000 people across the train network.
Member for Bass electorate Jordan Crugnale said the government was working alongside Metro to find ways to reduce passenger pressure.
“More people are catching trains now more than ever before and this is why we’ve added more than 530 services across the network,” Ms Crugnale said.
“The government continues to work with Metro to reduce crowding and we’re also undertaking a range of short-term measures to reduce crowding and regular reviews of timetables for any potential improvements.”
But Mr Battin said they’re simply not doing enough.
“Labor has 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,” Mr Battin 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.”
Meanwhile, Officer Station itself has been thrown into the spotlight with the Member for Gembrook accusing the government of failing to provide a start date for an election promise of an additional 500 car parks at the station.
There are currently no toilet facilities, customer service representatives, lifts or connecting bus services at the station.
“Under Daniel Andrews, Victorians are having their quality of life diminished, having no escape from the peak-hour chaos,” he added.