State budget: Bus users miss out

Bus stopThe Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) has welcomed rail and tram spending in the State Budget, but expressed disappointment at the lack of upgrades to bus services.

“The total amount being spent on public transport certainly sounds impressive, but most of that is a re-announcement of the $4.3 billion Regional Rail Link project, largely funded by the Federal government last year”, PTUA President Daniel Bowen said.

“Staffing more stations is definitely a step forward, and will assist with customer service and security, especially after dark when stations can be quite intimidating places. But around half of all stations will continue to have no fulltime staff presence.

“The new stations to be constructed will help residents in growing suburbs access public transport. New trams to be funded will help relieve overcrowding on some of our busiest tram routes, and will be welcomed by tram users.

“So there are some very welcome initiatives, but what’s missing from the budget is any commitment to boost outer-suburban bus services Residents of bus-dependent suburbs have some of the worst public transport in Melbourne. With most bus services only running every 30 to 60 minutes, even in peak hour, most outer suburban commuters will continue to have to use their cars to get around.

“Town bus services in regional Victoria have also missed out, with standards of service still well below Melbourne.

“The news that Myki may not work on trams until September must be concerning for the government, so close to the election. Passengers won’t be holding their breath waiting for it, and the government must surely be wishing they hadn’t insisted on building a brand new ticket system from scratch instead of buying one from elsewhere that already works.”