VIC's new approach

Regional Victoria will be the first to be part of a demand response public transport service after low bus patronage

By Amie Hickland| November 5, 2013

Empty buses in regional Victoria will be replaced with taxis to keep the underutilised service alive in certain areas.

Yarrawonga and Mulwala, north of Melbourne, will be the first communities to receive a flexible demand response public transport service using existing taxis six days a week.

Public Transport Victoria and the Taxi Services Commission have worked collaboratively in the development of the proposed service and will continue to work closely during the evaluation and monitoring of the new service.

Director of Operations Norman Gray says the organisation is delivering on the recommendations of the taxi industry inquiry by freeing taxis up to deliver more innovative services in regional Victoria.

"Currently the town bus services are carrying an average of two passengers per trip, on a bus with approximately 30 seats, which unfortunately means that the service is not sustainable in its current format," he says.

"This new flexible service model allows more stops to be placed throughout Yarrawonga and Mulwala, with an additional 24 stops planned.

"This will mean a shorter walk to public transport for more people, significantly improving access, in particular for those with mobility issues. "

Normal public transport fares will apply and passengers will be able to purchase a full fare or concession one-way or return fare on board.

The new flexible service will operate every 90 minutes between 9am and 5.30pm on weekdays, and from around 8.30am to 1pm on Saturdays.

If no trip is booked, then the service will not run and outside of the timetable and pre-booked trips, the taxi service will operate as normal.

"I encourage residents to jump on board when the new PTV FlexiRide service starts and to provide their feedback on the service direct to PTV," says Gray.

"Local residents should look out for a Yarrawonga PTV FlexiRide timetable guide in their letter boxes, which will provide them with the information they need to travel."

Customers will be able to book the PTV FlexiRide service by contacting Yarrawonga Mulwala Taxis at least 10 minutes in advance of the timetabled departure time from the town centre.

The FlexiRide demand response service will begin operating on November 25 and will replace the current Yarrawonga and Mulwala town bus network. There will be no changes to the school bus network.

The organisations will be assessing the community’s support of the service over the next 12 months.

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