How about this as the transport question for Prahrainians: what can we do to increase capacity on peak hour trains? As most transport wonks will tell you, it's a question of infrastructure.
Firstly, Melbourne's antiquated signalling system limits the frequency of services because it requires big gaps between trains. It can and should be overhauled.
Secondly, the number of tracks at some outer-suburban parts of the network are inadquate and need to be increased. This effects the frequency of services in the inner-city. Triplication all the way to Dandenong would do wonders.
Thirdly, the city loop is at its limits. The long term option needs to be the building of a fifth and sixth loop, but in the mean time there need to be more train lines that "do a Sandringham" and go direct to Flinders Street.
Looking beyond the Prahranese, there is a desperate need for infrastructure in the outer 'burbs. The trainline to Rowville has been mooted for decades but is no closer to being built. Deviating from the Dandenong line at Huntingdale, it could service Rowville, Scoresby, Mulgrave and Monash University very easily, overhauling that part of the city's reputation as a public transport black hole. Millions have been spend studying the possibility. Electrification to Craigieburn and (finally) the train line to South Morang should be high on the agenda.
So is either major party walking the walk? Not likely. Whilst Rome burns, the two parties fiddle.
Adjusting ticket pricing is the easy option that the parties have adopted. Baillieu wants to provide (PDF warning) free transport to students and merge zones 2 and 3. Talk about missing the point! For those who live within range of decent public transport, PT is undoubtedly better value than a car. For those who live beyond decent public transport, no financial saving will outweigh the inconvenience of using it. Bottom line is that consumers are much more sensitive to service levels and infrastructure than they are to pricing.
Credit ought to go to the Libs, though, for promising the building of the Cranbourne East train line and the extention to South Morang as praised by the fine folks at the Public Transport Users Association.
As for the ALP, thus far into the campaign this is what they have to offer (PDF warning) on public transport:
FARE GO PACKAGE
HOW THE BRACKS GOVERNMENT WILL CUT THE PRICE OF TRAVELLING ON PUBLIC