Mt Lawley and Meltham train stations: WA Labor members vow to save stops on Midland line

Rita Saffioti, Maylands MP Lisa Baker, Mt Lawley candidate Simon Millman.
Rita Saffioti, Maylands MP Lisa Baker, Mt Lawley candidate Simon Millman.

MT LAWLEY candidate Simon Millman and Maylands MP Lisa Baker vowed to keep Mt Lawley and Meltham train stations running after the Public Transport Authority (PTA) announced the stations were on a hit list.

Last Friday the PTA confirmed that closing “underperforming or inefficient” stations on the Midland line was being considered.

The PTA said boarding numbers on a typical weekday were 345 people at Mt Lawley and 524 at Meltham, significantly lower than 1516 at Maylands and 1833 at Bayswater.

Mr Millman warned that these numbers did not reflect projected growth in demand.

“If you look across the street from Mt Lawley station there’s a new apartment complex,” he said.

“The planning approval for that complex would have factored in the station. There’s also a new apartment complex across the street from Maylands Station. Without Meltham and Mt Lawley station on either side to take some of the pressure off you will see serious problems.

“Urban planning policy has been pushing for medium density development next to public transport infrastructure. If you put the development in and remove the transport infrastructure it puts unsustainable pressure on the system.”

Mr Millman said it was reported the State Government was looking for $30 million in savings in the PTA.

Transport Minister Dean Nalder would not answer a question from the Guardian Express on how the Government could achieve $30million in savings through the PTA without affecting service provision.

Asked if he could rule out closing either Mt Lawley or Meltham Station at any time after the 2017 State Election if the Liberal Party is returned to office, Mr Nalder said, “the Government is not considering and will not consider the closure of any train stations”.

Ms Baker said there was an “obvious chasm between what the Minister says and what his department is doing”.

“This is nothing new. On top of the litany of broken promises the community can clearly see how dysfunctional this government has become,” she said.

“Meltham is currently the focus of a new structure plan. A private developer in consultation with community and all stakeholders are championing this. This is a great opportunity to get public transport and planning right.”

PTA spokesman David Hynes said there were no immediate plans to close any stations, but noted that as one of the older rail routes, the Midland line – along with the Fremantle and Armadale lines – featured some stations only a few hundred metres apart.

“We are very conscious of providing high quality and responsive services that best meet community needs… We know that time is an important factor for people when deciding whether to use public transport versus the car,” he said, adding every stop at an under-utilised station added an additional 90 seconds to commuters’ journey time.

The PTA said any decision to close a station would not go ahead without extensive public consultation.