Keep AvonLink: residents petition Parliament

RESIDENTS of the Avon Valley region have a right to access quality public transport options say MPs Mia Davies and Shane Love who are continuing to fight for the AvonLink rail service.

Yesterday they presented two petitions to parliament.

The petitions, calling on the state government to retain AvonLink, were handed over on the steps of Parliament House at 11am yesterday by concerned residents from the electorates of Central Wheatbelt and Moore. 

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."

She had raised the issue with Transport Minister Troy Buswell and former minister for regional development Brendon Grylls as a matter of priority and would continue to advocate for the service to be retained.

Mr Love, the member for Moore, acknowledged AvonLink passenger numbers had been low in recent years, but maintained factors contributing to reduced patronage should be addressed by the government rather than it simply closing the service.

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

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

"If the service was better promoted, its frequency increased to help cater for travelling school children, or a bus service integrated to help feed additional customers into the rail system, then I'm confident AvonLink patronage will improve.

"Ultimately we must accept that if patronage remains low we will lose this service." 

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