Passengers on the route 903 Smartbus are still being forced to stand on slow, infrequent and overcrowded buses serving the busy Chadstone Shopping Centre.
Despite previous concerns over crowded buses expressed by the Public Transport Users Association (PTUA), the State Government has made no commitment towards fixing the problem. The PTUA has found no shortage of crowded buses as evidenced by further photographs. It is calling for an immediate upgrade of weekend services to run every 15 minutes, followed by an upgrade to run every 10 minutes, seven days-a-week within the next two years.
“It’s well and truly clear now that many of these buses are crowded and a boost to weekend services is warranted,” said Jeremy Lunn, the PTUA’s Outer East Convenor. “There’s really no excuse now, as our photos show, passengers deserve a better service such as buses every 15 minutes on weekends commencing immediately”.
While the majority of photos were taken on weekends, the PTUA has also seen crowded buses during weekday off-peak periods when the service is already every 15 minutes. Mr Lunn said that the next logical step would be upgrading the 903 bus service to run at least every ten minutes, seven days-a-week from 6am to midnight
“This is clearly justified as our photos show and such an upgrade could be achieved in the next two years.”
However, Mr Lunn has warned that the PTUA will not accept a ‘band aid’ solution to the crowding problems seen around Chadstone.
“We’ve had reports that passengers have been unable to board 903 buses at Doncaster due to overcrowding. This shows upgrades would need to apply to the whole route, but at the very least from Heidelberg to Mordialloc.”
“It is ridiculous for the government to be claiming that there is not enough demand for more services while some passengers can’t even squeeze onto crowded buses.”
The PTUA’s calls for improved bus priority have also fallen on deaf ears. A letter from Public Transport Minister Martin Pakula received by Mr Lunn states that “VicRoads have not identified bus improvement works at the intersection of Warrigal Road and Princes Highway (East) as a priority”.
“Passengers are looking forward to seeing an announcement from the government for an immediate upgrade to 15 minute weekend services on the 903. Better priority for buses is also needed.”