BusVic welcomes budget

The recent Victorian Budget announcement is a win for industry, according to BusVic

BusVic has welcomed the announcement of the Victorian Budget 2016/17 which includes nearly $700 million for bus services.

The budget allocates $661 million for the provision of metropolitan bus services and regional bus services have been allocated $120 million. Both amounts are a significant increase on the 2015/16 expenditure.

The government has also brought forward expenditure on new bus services identified in Plan for Victoria's Bus Network (2014), as announced by the State Government in April.

"The budgeted growth in investment and service kilometres sustains the government's intention to improve the connectivity and frequency of bus services in the outer suburbs" says BusVic executive director Chris Lowe.

"The 2016/17 Victorian budget is a step in the right direction for recurrent bus service investment and we look forward to working with the government to prioritise and implement the capital spend in the form of an on road bus priority program.

"Industry will look to increase its engagement with government to prioritise these service improvements, particularly through the Regional Network Development Plan, and establish a program to improve on-road priority for bus like dedicated bus lanes and signalling improvements along Melbourne's congested road network."

In terms of kilometres, the government has provided for a 2.7 per cent increase in metropolitan bus service kilometres and 9 per cent for regional bus service kilometres.

The 2015/16 figures show bus services for metropolitan Melbourne delivered more service kilometres at a lower cost than budgeted while regional bus services were generally in line with budget forecasts, according to Lowe.

This metropolitan underspend shows Victoria's local operators are continuing to provide quality bus services at a competitive cost to the Victorian taxpayer.

Lowe says the budget papers do not identify any significant capital works programs associated with improved bus priority.

He says the majority of infrastructure works relating to bus enhancements are linked to railway station interchange upgrades, rail crossing improvements and general road intersection upgrades. 

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