The 903 bus journey between Holmesglen and Oakleigh via Chadstone should take only ten minutes, according to the Public Transport Users Association (PTUA). A study by the PTUA found that crowded buses are wasting a significant amount of time, especially at red traffic lights.
“While passengers hang from the wrist straps, Vicroads is making their bus wait at every single red light”, said the PTUA’s outer east convenor Jeremy Lunn. “Nothing is being done to upgrade bus priority.”
The PTUA found that on a twenty minute journey from Holmesglen to Oakleigh, buses on route 903 waste around eight minutes at red lights or in heavy traffic. This compared with only two minutes picking up and setting down passengers, including the busy stop at Chadstone. Further time was wasted by buses travelling at sub-optimal speeds.
The Public Transport Minister has been incredibly slow to act, according to Mr Lunn.
“Public Transport Minister Martin Pakula has failed to represent bus commuters. He’s forcing people to stand on crowded buses that spend half their time stuck in traffic.
“Meanwhile, he has been telling Melburnians that a culture change is needed with the way they view buses. Clearly the Minister has more work to do to speed up buses and reduce overcrowding.”
Mr Lunn said that Mr Pakula also responded to calls for traffic priority in a local newspaper with potentially misleading information about works at the intersection of Warrigal Road and Waverley Road.
“Vicroads advised us that the intersection is being widened for ‘road safety’, rather than for public transport priority. Clearly an important way to improve road safety is to shift car trips to public transport.
“It appears that bus priority is has once again been ignored. Vicroads also advised us that there are currently no projects to improve bus travel times in the Chadstone area.”
Mr Lunn said that the PTUA’s Outer East branch has also made multiple attempts to meet with Martin Pakula to discuss this and other local issues.
“However, the Public Transport Minister has declined our invitation. It is a travesty that a minister continually refuses to meet with the community.
“Martin Pakula and the Brumby Government is forcing commuters to suffer by cramming us in like sardines on ridiculously slow buses around Chadstone”, Mr Lunn concluded.