Fight to keep train service

Avon Valley residents, local MPs and Shire representatives on the steps of Parliament House.
Avon Valley residents, local MPs and Shire representatives on the steps of Parliament House.

Central Wheatbelt MP Mia Davies and Moore MP Shane Love are leading the fight to keep the rail service, saying residents of the Avon Valley had a right to access quality public transport options.

Ms Davies said she had received overwhelming support for the continuation of AvonLink from local shires, leaders in the business community, Avon Valley residents and commuters.

‘The Avon Valley has been identified as a growth area for the State and a daily public train service to and from the region is critical to catering for future population and economy growth and prosperity,’ Ms Davies said.

‘It is also a valuable and safe service for those unable to drive, catering for our seniors, those living with disabilities and our youth.’

Ms Davies said she had raised the issue with Transport Minister Troy Buswell as a matter of priority and would continue to advocate for the service to be retained.

Mr Love acknowledged AvonLink passenger numbers had been low in recent years, but maintained factors contributing to reduced patronage should be addressed by the State Government rather than simply terminating the service.

‘The barriers to increasing patronage include inconvenient scheduling, expensive ticketing and limited marketing of the service to the public,’ he said.

‘Solutions could include increasing service frequency, aligning the fare structure with TransPerth zoning and introducing SmartRider ticketing technology.’

Toodyay Shire President David Dow, who handed the petitions over with Northam Shire President Steven Pollard in front of a strong crowd of supporters, said AvonLink’s value to development in the Wheatbelt had been overlooked by the State Government.

‘The Government has failed to recognise the potential for population expansion to the east of Perth while investing massive capital in expansion of railways and freeways north and south,’ he said.

‘It is clear to see the AvonLink service has suffered low patronage as a result of cumbersome and inefficient management, a lack of integration with the metropolitan public transport system and poor marketing.’