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Bus Reviews ignored, second-rate services prevail

The Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) has criticised the State Government for failing to take up recommendations from the Metropolitan Bus Reviews. In most areas of Melbourne, less than 30 percent of the recommendations have been implemented by the government. — See full list at [1], below.

“The bus network is struggling to meet the needs of people in the 21st century,” said PTUA president Daniel Bowen. “It is now clear that the government isn’t prepared to carry out all the recommendations that are needed to fix it.”

Mr Bowen said that Melbourne’s bus network is plagued by numerous problems, including:

  • poor service frequencies;
  • confusing spaghetti-like bus routes which are slow and difficult to understand;
  • routes that terminate in the ‘middle of nowhere’, short of useful destinations;
  • lack of bus lanes and traffic light priority.

“Many of these issues were addressed by the recommendations made in the Bus Reviews, but they have been ignored by the government,” said Mr Bowen.

“The government spent good money hiring consultants for this process and the community made a considerable effort to provide input. Solutions have been identified which would give Melbourne a better bus network that more people could use, but the government refuses to implement many of the upgrades; including many which are cost-neutral.”

The PTUA believes that all of the recommendations from the Bus Reviews should be implemented[2], providing better services for the hundreds of thousands of Melburnians who rely on buses as their only local public transport service.

“We are seeking a commitment from all candidates to implement the Bus Review recommendations”, said Mr Bowen.

Mr Bowen also said that the ‘Smartbus’ network is not living up to its name.

“Crowded buses are getting caught in traffic and Smartbus services are still infrequent on weekends. They typically operate only every half-hour on Saturdays and Sundays,” he said.

“Public Transport Minister Martin Pakula has been telling Melburnians that a culture change is needed with the way they view buses. But it appears he is not prepared to do his part of the deal.”

“Mr Pakula and the Brumby Government have failed commuters by not providing Melbourne with a usable bus network.”

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[1] Figures from Bus Solutions, Issue 03, October 2010, Bus Association Victoria:

  • Knox/Maroondah/Yarra Ranges 5%
  • Banyule/Darebin/Moreland/Melbourne/Yarra/Port Phillip 7%
  • Manningham/Whitehorse/Monash 8%
  • Bayside/Kingston/Boroondara/Glen Eira 11%
  • Casey/Cardinia/Greater Dandenong 20%
  • Brimbank/Melton/Hume/Moonee Valley 22%
  • Frankston/Mornington 25%
  • Banyule/Nillumbik 29%
  • Hume/Moreland 31%
  • Whittlesea 49%
  • Hobsons Bay/Wyndham 52%
  • Maribyrnong/Hobsons Bay/Moonee Valley 57%

[2] The PTUA view is that all recommendations should be implemented, with one caveat: where the Bus Service Review report notes that a sub-optimal route has been selected due to residents wanting an existing service removed from their local street, this should be further reviewed to ensure the best outcome for current and potential bus passengers, and to maximise
patronage and bus operation efficiency.