Doncaster DART set to start

Ventura’s investment in SmartBuses pays off sooner than planned with the Doncaster DART starting within weeks

Doncaster DART set to start
Doncaster DART set to start

September 2, 2010

Ventura Bus will start their SmartBus service from Doncaster sooner than expected with this week’s announcement by Victoria’s Transport Minister Martin Pakula giving the green light to start at the end of this month.

Pakula says passengers can use the new Doncaster services for free for a fortnight when the DART services begin on October 4 and the SmartBus Route 901 starts on September 26.

"We said they would be up and running in early 2011, so it’s fantastic to be able to deliver them ahead of schedule and provide a real boost to bus services across Melbourne’s suburbs."

The SmartBus services are part of Victoria’s $38 billion transport plan.

Since 2006, the Victorian Government has introduced 183 local bus route improvements across Melbourne, including longer operating hours on 124 routes, 17 route extensions mainly into growth suburbs, 19 new routes and increased frequency on 23 routes – providing 13,128 extra bus trips every week.

"As a result of our investment, we are seeing a huge cultural change in the way Victorians travel," Pakula says.

"Across the state, more than 100 million people used buses last year – that’s 26 per cent growth in the past four years."

He says the Eastern Freeway bus services are hugely popular with local residents, and the DART program will establish four rapid bus links to the city, running every seven to ten minutes during peak periods, every 15 minutes at other times during the day and every 30 minutes after 9pm on weekends and on weekends.

"This major bus boost will more than double the number of services operating on these four routes – from 250 to 580 each weekday, from 80 to 300 on Saturdays and from 75 to 230 on Sundays – that’s a total of 3030 bus services every week."

Mr Pakula says the Victorian Government will also extend the popular SmartBus Route 901 to run from Frankston to Melbourne Airport, providing a 115 km-long bus link connecting several railway lines, educational facilities and more than 100 local bus routes.

"The new SmartBus Route 901 will run seven days a week, with services operating on average every 15 minutes until 9pm on weekdays, and every 30 minutes other times," he says.

The route will run from Frankston to Melbourne Airport via Dandenong, Ringwood, Blackburn, Doncaster East, Templestowe, Greensborough, South Morang, Epping, Roxburgh Park, and Broadmeadows.

"It is great there will now be a frequent bus connection from Broadmeadows train station to the airport, providing even more transport options for people requiring transport to Tullamarine," says Pakula.

He claims SmartBus had become the most popular bus service in Melbourne, with patronage growing by 20 percent to almost 12 million trips in 2009.

"Passengers using the SmartBus routes are provided with route and timetable information and they know they will get to their destination quickly and easily."

SmartBuses are equipped with technology to communicate with the bus depot and signage to provide real-time information for passengers.

Pakula says more than 270 bus stops along Route 901 and around 190 bus stops along the DART routes were currently being upgraded.

"The modifications will enable low-floor buses to meet passengers at the same level as the bus stop, making travel easier for people with a disability or those with prams or trolleys," he says.

"These new DART and SmartBus Route 901 services will complement the existing cross-town SmartBus network, so that areas like Manningham have a network of high frequency routes."

He says local bus services are a vital link in Victoria’s public transport network, complementing the tram and train network.

"In fact, around half of Melburnians rely on bus services for public transport as they live in locations close to bus services but remote from train and tram lines."

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