Bus Network Needs Radical Overhaul

The Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) is demanding that the State Government overhaul Melbourne’s bus network as part of its upcoming Transport and Liveability Statement and through the renewal bus contracts in 2007.

“Melbourne’s current bus network is antiquated and unable to cater to the needs of modern society,” PTUA spokesman Alex Makin said. “With outdated route structures that have not been reviewed in decades and a complex web of routes, Melbourne’s bus routes are both infrequent and inconvenient”.

The call to overhaul Melbourne’s bus network comes amid rising speculation that the upcoming Transport and Liveability Statement will include a substantial injection of funds for Melbourne’s bus network. All contracts awarded to Melbourne’s bus franchises are due to be renewed in 2007 providing the rare opportunity for a radical overhaul.

“As transport advocates we are tired of hitting our head against the wall each year to be awarded with nothing more than piecemeal improvements,” Mr. Makin said. “It is now time for the government to show some true leadership and pledge to completely overhaul Melbourne’s bus network. The creation of direct, efficient and frequent bus routes would provide a service comparable to Melbourne’s tram network which has experienced solid patronage growth over the last six years”.

While the latest State Government budget provided $44 million over four years for new services in the urban fringes, transport advocates have long indicated that at least $60 million per annum was required to both boost bus services and to provide additional coverage throughout Melbourne.

“The overhaul of Melbourne’s bus network would allow routes to be designed to connect activity centres ensuring consistency with Melbourne 2030. Local bus routes would serve residential areas removed from the main road network to ensure no one missed out”, Mr. Makin said. “These local services would connect to the principal bus network increasing the coverage, frequency and span of Melbourne’s public transport network”.

“Melbourne’s bus network is critically ill and requires urgent surgery. The chance to reform Melbourne’s bus network is a rare opportunity that can achieved through the upcoming Transport and Liveability Statement and the renewal of bus contracts. I urge the state government to finally show real leadership and completely overhaul Melbourne’s bus network to meet modern travel needs”, Mr. Makin concluded.

PTUA Office 9650 7898