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New bus order for $290 million SmartBus network

Volgren's Dandenong factory secures order for 26 buses as part of Victorian Government’s $290 million SmartBus program

April 21, 2010

A fleet of new buses will be manufactured by a local Dandenong factory as part of the Brumby Labor Government’s $290 million SmartBus program supporting local jobs and providing new low-floor vehicles for the Yellow Orbital SmartBus 901 route.

Public Transport Minister Martin Pakula has announced an order for 26 buses from Volgren – Australia’s largest bus manufacturer.

“More than 100 million passenger trips were made on Melbourne’s bus network last year, the highest patronage in 40 years, and we will continue to invest in new buses and new routes,” he says.

“A key driver for this patronage growth is of course the use of new and easily accessible buses. Already Volgren have manufactured 35 new buses at Dandenong for use on SmartBus Route 902 (Chelsea to Airport West).

“This new order of 26 will see more than 60 new buses operating across Melbourne’s SmartBus network.

“Volgren is a sign of the success of Victoria’s manufacturing sector with the company employing 170 people at its Dandenong factory, securing local jobs.

“On top of this, Volgren has more than 700 local suppliers, meaning there are other flow-on benefits for the local economy.”

Pakula says SmartBus patronage grew by 20 percent last year to 12 million trips, with five SmartBus routes now operating.

“This week, the Route 902 SmartBus (Green Orbital) started full operations between Chelsea and Airport West and I encourage passengers to hop on board and take advantage of the free offer which will continue to Sunday April 18,” he says.

“It is almost a year since we introduced the SmartBus Route 903 (Red Orbital) running between Altona and Mordialloc and it is already Melbourne’s most popular service carrying 17,000 passengers every weekday.”

SmartBus services run seven days a week, operating on average every 15 minutes on weekdays between 6am and 9pm, and every 30 minutes on weekends and public holidays, with hours of operation spanning 5am to midnight on weekdays.

Pakula says the first stage of the Yellow Orbital SmartBus (Route 901) is already operating between Frankston and Ringwood with the route to be extended through Blackburn, Greensborough, South Morang to Melbourne Airport in early 2011.

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