KEY VICTORIAN BUS NETWORK LACKING GOVERNMENT UPGRADE SUPPORT

By: Fabian Cotter, Photography by: courtesy Ventura


DESPITE LOCAL COUNCIL efforts seeking rate-payer support in its quest to garner state government funds to improve its bus services, Mornington Peninsula Shire councillors have conceded they’re yet to achieve “any significant upgrades”.

KEY VICTORIAN BUS NETWORK LACKING GOVERNMENT UPGRADE SUPPORT
“Public transport on the Peninsula is suffering greatly from a legacy of underinvestment,” Cr Payne said.

According to The MPNews and Southern Peninsula News media outlets, mayor Cr David Gill says despite seven months of lobbying the state government and working closely with bus company Ventura, there have been no improvements.

"Our advocacy efforts and those of the community have not resulted in any significant upgrades to bus services on the Peninsula," Cr Gill said, confirming that 82 per cent of the Peninsula had no public transport.

"For $20 million a year we could fix the bus services on the Peninsula. It’s a public service that’s not being provided.

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"We have got to increase the number of buses and their frequencies so that people know they can rely on them.

"People – potential bus users – are not going to give up their cars for a bus service that comes every four hours." 

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788 UPGRADE?

Cr Gill said the council was "actively seeking to work with the new Department of Transport to get priorities like the 788 bus route upgraded. 

"We will be seeking to understand why our advocacy has not been successful and why improvements to inadequate bus services on the Peninsula have not been a priority for the state government."

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As outlined by local media reports, last October then mayor Cr Bryan Payne said the Peninsula had the second lowest provision of public transport per person in metropolitan Melbourne, and that two out of three of the Peninsula’s major activity centres were not serviced by train and had to rely on buses – making it the "only metropolitan municipality in the state in this situation".

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"Public transport on the Peninsula is suffering greatly from a legacy of underinvestment," Cr Payne said.

"Route 788 buses – Portsea to Frankston – carry over half a million passengers annually with 45-100 minute frequencies – yet the Peninsula has more than 50,000 residents over 60 with many facing challenges over social isolation."

Cr Payne had previously said the 788 service was "overcrowded during peak times and sometimes being forced to leave some passengers behind".

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THE CAMPAIGN

Only recently did the Mornington Peninsula Shire publically ask its community to write to the Minister for Public Transport about the times they’d been impacted by public transport on the Peninsula.

Directing correspondence to The Hon. Melissa Horne MP, Minister for Public Transport, it guides participants in what could be written by highlighting the following questions:

* What the proposed route 788 improvements would mean to you?

* Would you be more likely to use the 788 if it was more frequent with some express services?

* Have you ever been left behind by the 788?

* What other bus network upgrades would you like to see on the Peninsula?

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PENINSULA TRANSPORT FACTS

According to the council, the following holds true:

* The Mornington Peninsula has the second lowest provision of public transport per person in metropolitan Melbourne;

* Two out of three of the peninsula’s Major Activity Centres are not serviced by train and rely on bus services – the only metropolitan municipality in the state with this situation.

* [It gets] 7.6 million visitors annually and only 18 per cent of the Peninsula [has] services by public transport.

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* The Route 788 bus carries over half a million passengers annually with current frequencies from 45 minutes to 100 minutes.

* More than 50,000 residents are over the age of 60, with many facing challenges with social isolation.

"With public transport across Victoria being controlled and managed by the state government, Mornington Peninsula Shire continues to push for improved public transport for its residents, businesses and visitors," it states.

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