Push for better safety at train stations in the hills

SAFETY at hills train stations is looming as a key election topic, with both the Liberal and Greens candidates for Monbulk launching campaigns for extra transit police and permanent staff at local platforms.

Liberal candidate for Monbulk Matthew Mills said under the Victorian Coalition’s plan, 100 extra transit police would be added to Victoria’s train network, and two Victoria protective services officers would be stationed at every train station from 6pm until the last train. Tecoma and Upwey stations are both currently unmanned.

Greens candidate Jo Tenner said her party planned to fully staff all train stations from the first to the last train.

“Many people I have spoken with around the electorate have told me that they do not feel safe using the unstaffed stations, they also expressed concerns about the level of vandalism and graffiti at the stations,” she said. Ms Tenner said if permanent staff were employed, then waiting areas and toilets could be opened and tourists provided with directions, making the station a real hub of the town.

Staff from Indian restaurant Saffron Cottage in Tecoma recently quit after being racially taunted and threatened with violence at Tecoma station. Restaurant owner Nikky Salgadoe said she supported the station being staffed at all times. Monbulk state Labor MP James Merlino said there had been more than a 50 per cent increase in public transport over the past 10 years, yet the crime rate had continued to drop.

Mr Merlino said Victoria Police and Metro continued to work together to identify hot spots across the rail network.

He said the Victorian Transport Plan had a further commitment to engage 50 new transit police, and more than 500 authorised officers were already employed across the Victorian public transport network.

Push for better safety at train stations in the hills


 KIMBERLEY SEEDY, Free Press Leader 5th May 2010