By: Fabian Cotter

THE 2019/20 VICTORIAN State Budget includes $205.1 million to increase train and bus services, the Government recently announced. However, the bulk of its public transport spend focuses on train and tram investment.

“The Budget includes $205.1 million to increase train and bus services."

As it explains, new bus routes and more services will be rolled out in growth areas in the north and south-east - connecting people to jobs, reducing travel times and improving public transport options in the suburbs and regions.

Minister for Public Transport, Ports and Freight Melissa Horne said: "We’re building more trains and trams to give passengers a better experience and support local jobs."

"We promised to get trucks off local streets and that’s exactly what we’re doing.

"Whether it’s a better local bus or brand new trains – this Budget will get you where you need to go," she said.

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The Andrews Labor Government says that in just four years, it has invested $46.7 billion to overhaul Victoria’s state’s transport system – removing level crossings, building the Metro Tunnel and upgrading suburban and regional lines across the state.

At the same time, it’s invested in the services, staff and rolling stock needed to maximise the benefits of its Big Build – to "get passengers home sooner, wherever they live", it explains.

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According to an official press statement, the Victorian Budget 2019/20 "…continues our unprecedented investment in Victoria’s rail network, with billions of dollars for major projects, new trains and extra car parks at train stations to make it quicker and easier to park the car and jump on board."

"The Budget includes $205.1 million to increase train and bus services, and $111 million to recruit, train and upskill train drivers to get them ready for the new bigger and better trains, extra regional services and the Metro Tunnel.

"In addition, $128.5 million will go towards the operation and maintenance of recently completed projects including level crossing removals and the Mernda Rail Extension.

"Train communication systems will be upgraded, with $83 million invested to allow Metro train drivers to continue to communicate critical information, such as accidents or illness on a train when out on the network, maintaining safety and continuing to minimise delays.

"To reduce the daily scramble to find a park, the Budget provides $150 million for the Car Parks for Commuters Fund – as promised. The funds will build thousands of new car parks at some of the busiest stations in Melbourne and regional Victoria."



The official government statement continues: "In good news for manufacturing and supply jobs in Dandenong and Victoria, $340 million will purchase up to 18 new three-car VLocity trains to meet increasing demand for services across our regional network."

"The tram network will get another boost with $162.8 million for 10 more locally built E-Class trams. It will take Melbourne’s fleet of low-floor accessible trams to 100, reducing crowding and supporting Victorian jobs.

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Since its launch in March more than 50,000 Android smartphone users are topping up and touching on using mobile myki, it claims. The government says it will "supercharge" the development of mobile myki to other smartphone platforms, making travelling quicker and easier for all passengers with a smartphone.

"Passengers will also be able to keep their phones charged and stay contactable with funding for 160 free mobile charging ports at Richmond, South Yarra, North Melbourne and the City Loop stations."

"The Budget invests $19 million for stabling and maintenance facility operations at Wyndham Vale, Ballarat East, Bendigo and South Dynon – supporting the massive investment in upgrading every regional line in Victoria."

"The Government will invest $8 million to extend an incentive scheme which shifts more trucks off local roads and onto rail, and to help Victoria’s truck drivers to be safer and more skilled on our roads."

The government states that the Budget supports the biggest ever investment in transport and continues the massive overhaul of Victoria’s public transport and freight networks, saving time and reducing congestion.

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