Friends of the Earth says the latest zero-emissions bus trial out west is a great boost for the region but more must be done to reinvigorate the network
Following recent rallies around the Victorian bus network’s future, Friends of the Earth’s Sustainable Cities group has responded to the government’s latest zero-emissions bus trial.
This latest trial will be undertaken in the western suburbs, where Sustainable Cities recently called for the state government to prioritise when it comes to reconfiguring the state’s bus network.
Under operator Transit Systems, nine zero-emissions buses will be trialled out of West Footscray.
On May 17, Friends of the Earth held a rally on the steps of Victoria’s Parliament House calling for better bus services in the west.
Now, Sustainable Cities has responded to this latest trial, praising some aspects of the decision to hold the trial out west.
“We are glad to see the roll out of electric buses in Melbourne’s west and hope to see this occur more often over the coming years,” Sustainable Cities spokesperson Elyse Cunningham told ABC.
“While the transition to electric buses will cut down the emissions from diesel buses on the road, the biggest contributor to emissions from transport for personal use is cars. What we need to see in this term of government is a reform of the entire bus network from the long, indirect and unreliable routes to a simple grid that will allow for 10-minute frequencies.
“People need access to a bus network that is reliable and will get them where they need to go on time.”
Among Cunningham’s latest calls is for the west to receive more improved services not just relating to the latest zero-emissions bus technology to increase access for all western suburbs’ passengers.
“The current network means that many services are infrequent, especially in the west, and they don’t match up well with other forms of public transport, meaning people are less inclined to use them,” Cunningham says.
“What’s the use of a whole new fleet of electric buses if no one is on them? While we are glad that we were able to save bus reform in this budget, we want to see a greater commitment to network reform in this term of government, and we want the western suburbs to be prioritised.”