The Victorian Transport Plan boosts public transport

By: Chris Smith

The Victorian Government has placed its money in boosting the public transport system through The Victorian Transport Plan, a response

The Victorian Government has placed its money in boosting the public transport system through The Victorian Transport Plan, a response to Sir Rod Eddington’s Investing in Transport report.

The plan covers all modes of transport and includes $1.2 billion capital injection to transform Melbourne’s bus services.

The $1.2 billion will be used to better connect the bus system with growth areas, doubling the number of Eastern Freeway express bus services, continuing the roll out of the SmartBus network and upgrading local bus services across Melbourne.

The Minister for Public Transport Lynne Kosky says The Victorian Transport Plan delivered:
  • A $500 million boost to local bus services into Melbourne’s growth areas as they develop, including up to 270 new low-floor vehicles. Local bus services will have longer operating hours and increased frequencies;
  • Expansion of the SmartBus network, with a $290 million investment to fund 70 kilometres of planned routes; and
  • A $360 million major expansion of the Eastern Freeway express bus network through the Doncaster Area Rapid Transit program, doubling the number of services across four key routes to 540 services a week within three years.

Kosky says the Brumby Government’s continued investment in Melbourne’s bus network had seen unprecedented patronage increase of 11.4 percent in the 12 months to September 2008, which continues two years of solid growth.

"Since 2006 we have increased frequencies and improved operating hours of 114 bus routes, introduced six new routes, extended the distance of 10 routes and improved the frequency of 15 routes," she says.

"We will fund three major bus projects under The Victorian Transport Plan: new buses and continued bus route upgrades, continued delivery of SmartBus, and implementation of the Doncaster Area Rapid Transit (DART)."

Services on the four upgraded DART routes will run every seven to 10 minutes during peak hours and will operate between 5am and midnight on weekdays, 6am to midnight on Saturdays and 7am to 9pm on Sundays.

DART will also use SmartBus technology including real time information displays to be installed at some bus stops and timetables and maps to be installed at all stops and more bus priority lanes to keep services running on time.

The bus routes targeted for DART upgrades are:
  • Route 301 The Pines – City;
  • Route 304 Warrandyte – City;
  • Route 307 Mitcham – City; and
  • Route 319 / 308 The Pines – City.

Kosky says continued investment in public transport services would be welcomed by residents of the City of Manningham and complements improvements to the Doncaster Park & Ride.

"The new DART service will build on improvements already delivered in Doncaster by our Government funding, including service upgrades to bus routes, as well and the November introduction of an additional 27 Eastern Freeway express bus peak hour services each weekday," she says.

"We have seen that if bus services run frequently and for longer during the day, then they become an attractive alternative for people who would prefer to leave their cars at home."

The SmartBus network will grow from the five current routes to expand on key routes around Melbourne and these will include:
  • Red Orbital (Future Route 903) the existing Mordialloc to Box Hill route will be extended to Altona through Doncaster, Heidelberg, Preston, Coburg, Essendon and Sunshine, with services to commence in early 2009;
  • Green Orbital (Future Route 902), the existing Springvale Road route will be extended to Airport West through Doncaster, Eltham, Greensborough and Broadmeadows, with services commencing in early 2010; and
  • Yellow Orbital (Route 901) the existing Ringwood to Frankston route will be extended to Melbourne Airport through Blackburn, Greensborough, South Morang, Epping and Roxburgh Park, with services to commence in early 2011.

Kosky claims SmartBus offered premium 'cross-town' connections on major arterial roads and connected with Melbourne’s radial suburban network.

"Since 2006, we have seen our investment in bus services take off, with increasing numbers of passengers choosing to travel by bus to make journeys into the CBD or through their local community," Kosky says

"Buses can be rolled out quickly and adapted to suit the needs of residents to make sure they stay connected."

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