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Wyndham community marks 1000 days of Victorian bus reform inaction

Sustainable Cities and local residents gathered on the weekend to call for bus network action for Melbourne’s western suburbs

Local residents in the Melbourne suburb of Wyndham have gathered to mark 1000 days of the state government’s inaction on proposed bus reform.

Organised by Friends of the Earth Melbourne and its Sustainable Cities Collective, the event took place on March 9, with the public gathering to mark 1000 days since Victoria’s bus plan was released by the state government.

The collective claims there’s still no evidence of improved bus services.

Community members from across the west of Melbourne met in Werribee to hear speeches and speak to members of the Wyndham community about their experience with public transport in the area.

The group says that since 2021, the Victorian government has committed to a bus plan that promised to create a bus network that met the state’s public transport needs and demands, including route reforms and improved accessibility and safety.

But now, 1000 days since the plan was released, the group says little has been done to ensure Melbourne’s west has a fast, frequent and reliable bus service.

Image: Friends of the Earth

“The lack of frequent and direct bus routes has been particularly difficult for communities such as those in Wyndham in Melbourne’s west. In Hoppers Crossing, for example, the average bus trip takes four times longer than the same journey by car,” Sustainable Cities spokesperson Elyse Cunningham says.

“According to the government’s bus plan, 2023 was supposed to see the implementation of reforms to transform Victoria’s bus network to align it with growing demand. The west is the fastest growing area in all of Australia, and Wyndham is the fastest-growing local government area of Greater Melbourne, but they have still not seen proportionate service improvements.

“Victoria’s Bus Plan has no solid timeline, and no solid funding commitments. They’ve been sitting on this plan for 1000 days, but the people of Melbourne’s West are still stuck waiting for better buses, and taking hours to get to uni, work or the shops.  In a cost of living crisis, families in the west are spending hundreds of dollars more on petrol just to get where they need to go.”

Western suburbs resident Simon Tran says the group is “calling on the Victorian government to swing into action by piloting a faster, frequent and more direct bus network in the Wyndham area”.

“They can’t leave the bus plan on the shelf any longer. We need Victorian Labor and local member Tim Pallas to seriously invest in bus route reform in this year’s state budget. Buses are the cheap and fast way to get people moving in Melbourne’s west,” Tran says.

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