No cuts to buses

Proposal to reduce bus services in the north and west, in favour of east Melbourne is rejected

A proposal to cut bus services in Melbourne’s northern and western suburbs and increase services in the eastern suburbs has been rejected by the Victorian government.

State minister for public transport Jacinta Allan says the changes proposed by bus operator Transdev were inconsistent with the Victorian government’s focus on better bus services across metropolitan Melbourne, which the community needs.

The proposed bus network changes involve cutting services in Melbourne’s north and west, by more than 20 per cent, in favour of service improvements in the eastern and southern suburbs.

"Demand for buses is growing faster than any other mode of transport, and we need to make sure they continue to meet the needs of our community," she says.

"Rather than cutting buses in one area to increase buses in another, we will develop a more balanced bus network plan in consultation with the community."

Buses play an important role in connecting people to jobs, education and other modes of transport, Allan says.

Cutting buses, particularly without proper consultation, would leave people isolated and without access to the services they plan their lives around, she feels.

Rather than proceeding with the suggested changes, the Victorian government will now ask Public Transport Victoria and Transdev to develop a "more balanced" bus network proposal in consultation with local communities.

"Our focus and our mandate is to invest in and improve public transport," Allan says.

"That’s why we’re building Melbourne Metro, that’s why we’re removing 50 level crossings and that’s why we’re rejecting the proposed changes in favour of better bus services for Melbourne."

The Victorian government will establish a ministerial consultative group and new transport forums based around local government areas.

These bodies will look at ways to expand and improve public transport, including buses.

The state government has also committed to spending $100 million on a comprehensive bus plan that will see improvements made to specific bus routes in Melbourne.


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