Australia, Bus Industry News, Bus Trials, Electric Buses

Community electric buses begin innovative Gippsland trial

The two electric bus trials are set to establish a model for other small Australian communities

In Gippsland, Victoria, local communities are beginning the first community-run electric bus trials in Australia to provide a sustainable solution to small town transport.

In a bid to overcome the dilemma of getting around a small Australian town without a car or Uber and with limited public transport, the community electric bus service is being trialled.

The communities of Sandy Point and Venus Bay will undertake the trials. If successful, the model could pave the way for other small towns across Australasia.

The initial three-month trial is being funded and supported by the iMOVE Cooperative Research Centre, the Victorian government and La Trobe University.

The aim of the trial is to address the critical transport gap faced by residents in these small communities who often rely on private vehicles or limited existing services.

The trial will help communities refine their services that will run for the remainder of the two-year project, with the idea being for both communities to then provide these services on an ongoing basis.

“Every small regional town deserves access to modern, clean, and reliable transport. The Gippsland trial is our first mile to bridging the rural-urban divide, offering a scalable blueprint that promises to energise small towns with self-reliant, green transport solutions,” iMOVE CRC managing director Ian Christensen says.

“By adopting this service nationally, we can empower small towns, reduce carbon footprints, and pave the way for future generations to thrive in a cleaner Australia.”

The two trials are named Sandy and Sunny and were officially launched at the Community Energy Congress Regional Hub in Leongatha.

The two vehicles are fully electric buses with wheelchair lifting and carrying capabilities and have been funded through the Victorian government Department of Transport and Planning’s Flexible Local Transport Solutions Program (FLTSP), which provides funding to local governments and community organisations for small-scale transport projects.

The initially free services will be run by the Venus Bay Community Centre and the Sandy Point Bus Management Committee and will be staffed by volunteers. La Trobe University is also working closely with the community teams to capture data and lessons for the iMOVE project.

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