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BusVic releases plan to improve bus services in outer Melbourne suburbs

BusVic has unveiled its plan to extend and update Melbourne’s suburban bus network in a variety of areas

As it continues to look at new ways to improve Melbourne’s bus network, the Bus Association of Victoria (BusVic) has released a new plan for outer Melbourne suburbs.

Following the recent call to establish a suburban bus loop that could act as a lead-in for the planned suburban rail loop, BusVic is pushing for service modifications to improve access to bus services in Melbourne’s outer suburbs and regions.

“There is a significant divide between the availability and coverage of bus services in inner metropolitan Melbourne and the outer suburbs and the regions,” BusVic says.

“This places a significant handbrake on the capacity for positive economic, social and environmental outcomes in our outer suburbs and regions whose population continues to grow.

“BusVic believes the public transport network needs to be realigned to focus on delivering services that enable people to move effectively and efficiently, regardless of where they live.”

In BusVic’s assessment, $32 million annually would be needed to fund the service improvements requested.

In the western suburbs, this includes a Sunday service for the 414, 415 and 479 services, while in Watergardens BusVic wants to extend route 463 down Aspire Boulevard while providing greater frequency of route 461.

In Wyndham, BusVic suggests reviewing all services in the municipality due to significant population growth while upgrading bus stop infrastructure in the Werribee area including zero-emissions bus charging infrastructure, with fare zones to also be harmonised so there’s no disincentives for rail users using buses.

In the eastern suburbs, BusVic wants to increase the frequency of weekend service delivery of the route 624 service and introduce a Sunday service for route 407.

In the south-east, increasing the frequency of route 841 to every 20 minutes, extending routes 791, 795, 796 and 798 and extending route 898 to link Casey Fields to Cranbourne is part of the suggestions.

For Manningham, increasing bus services between Wonga Park and Croydon is part of the plan, as is increasing services to expand the route through Wonga Park, while including Ringwood Station and Doncaster Park in any expanded routes.

In the northern suburbs, BusVic proposes upgrading the frequency on route 542, extending service to Pascoe Vale Station on Sundays, upgrading frequency and priority for routes 541 and 525, upgrading span of hours on weekends for routes 536 and 538, extending route 561 to major interchanges at Watsonia and Greensborough and upgrading the frequency of routes 517, 555, 556, 566 and 567 to match train timetables.

“One ‘no brainer’ service improvement is modifying the 685 so the Chocolateria (Healesville) is on a bus route,” BusVic executive director Chris Lowe says.

“It’s the second biggest tourist attraction in the Yarra Valley (after the Healesville Sanctuary), gets 800,000 visitors per year, has 100 employees and you can’t get there by public transport! Route 685 should be deviated, and bus stops deployed there.”

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