The people of the Melbourne suburbs of Altona and Seaholme have begun a community revolt against train cuts to their area. The first public meeting on the issue attracted 250 people on March 3. A second meeting attracted 500 on March 29.
The March 29 meeting set up the Altona Loop Action Group.
The group held a protest outside the office of public transport minister Terry Mulder on April 12.
Residents were outraged earlier this year when they found out that the new train timetable would slash services on the Altona loop of Melbourne’s Weribee train line. The proposed cuts are scheduled to come into effect in May.
A journey from Altona to the city, which now takes 30 minutes on one train, would take up to 50 minutes under the new timetable and may require three separate trains.
Greens MLC Colleen Hartland helped initiate the campaign. On her website, Hartland rejected the state Coalition government’s claim that it cannot overturn the timetable change.
Hartland said: “[The government] says its hands are tied and it is not its decision. This is wrong. The fact is that the government makes the final decision on the train timetable. The contractual arrangement makes it clear that the government has the power to accept or reject a proposed timetable change.”