The Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) has questioned the Government’s commitment and capability in delivering the Box Hill to Northland SmartBus, part of the long-awaited orbital bus routes around Melbourne.
“We know from experience due to projects such as Regional Fast Rail or the Spencer Street Redevelopment that this Government can’t deliver any public transport project on time, or even within budget. This project has been in the planning for too long, and its delay is a disgrace which is holding up all other public transport projects that are required to improve congestion and provide travel options for Melbourne’s East and North”, said PTUA spokesman Christopher Trikilis.
The bus, an upgrade of the current route 291, would see more frequent services operating 7 days a week and would form part of a link of bus routes, known as the red orbital route which would operate at high frequency between Mordialloc and Altona. At present due to delays, only one section of the red orbital, between Mordialloc and Box Hill, is in operation despite the red orbital bus route being a key priority within the government’s transport and liveability statement.
“We have seen selected bus stops improved and some bus priority installed to allow buses to beat the growing traffic at major intersections, but we are yet to see it in operation, or with the promised extra services despite money being allocated in the budget. It is time that people are given the choice to use a fast and frequent and reliable bus service, and the government’s stalling on the project demonstrates contempt for commuters”, Mr. Trikilis said.
“People have demonstrated that if public transport is frequent and reliable, they will use it. It is now up to the Bracks Government to deliver the promised service to provide a reliable and sensible alternative to growing congestion on our roads. If the long promised route cannot be operational before the election campaign concludes, then Transport Minister Peter Batchelor must resign from parliament immediately so we can have a Minister who will deliver results”, concluded Mr. Trikilis.