Australia, Bus Industry News

Friends of the Earth welcomes Melbourne bus report but calls for more buses in the west

Friends of the Earth welcomes the report and is calling on the state government to act on better bus routes in Melbourne’s west

Friends of the Earth’s Better Buses Campaign has welcomed the findings of Infrastructure Victoria’s Fast, frequent, fair: how buses can better connect Melbourne report launched this week, showing the benefits of bus network reform and how the Victorian government should prioritise investment in better bus services.

The report details how an uplift in Melbourne’s bus infrastructure, including creating priority bus lanes, the implementation of a 10-minute frequency timetable and more direct routes, would significantly improve access to jobs and recreation for thousands of Melburnians.

The group says these reforms would especially serve those in the chronically underserved outer suburbs and those in newly built estates who currently have minimal to no access to public transport.

“This research shows that if there’s a better bus system, Melburnians will use it,” Friends of the Earth campaigns coordinator and Better Buses spokesperson Chloe Aldenhoven says.

“But more importantly, that fast growing outer suburbs like those in the west are desperately under-served and need better buses now.

“Many households in Melbourne’s west have to spend thousands on multiple cars or taxis and Ubers, or otherwise just get stuck at home.  It’s a cost of living issue, it’s a social isolation issue, it’s an equity issue.”

Aldenhoven says minister Ben Carroll “sat on Victoria’s Bus Plan for years while in the public transport portfolio”.

“Premier Allan presided over big public transport projects proposed for the west like airport rail falling by the wayside. The west is getting increasingly isolated and desperate. We need Victorian Labor’s leadership team to take this report seriously and to start by implementing fast, frequent and direct bus services across Melbourne’s western suburbs,” Aldenhoven says.

“The state government say they want better buses, the community are calling for it, the business community is calling for it, it’s the advice they are getting from Infrastructure Victoria, but we are still not seeing action.

“Victorian Labor can start by reforming the routes under the bus operator CDC’s contract that covers much of the west this year. A pilot in the west can prove the value of a fast, frequent and fair bus network that this report promises.”

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