The Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) has slammed the State Government for failing to provide sufficient bus services over the summer holiday period on route 788 between Frankston and Portsea. It has further accused the government of poorly advertising service amendments, nor promoting the service as an alternative to driving, leading to increased road congestion on the Peninsula.
“With a 45 minute service frequency each day until 29 January, the 788 ranks amongst the very worst of all the 337 bus services in Melbourne over the holiday period,” said PTUA spokesman Jeremy Lunn.
Even with revised weekend and public holiday service frequencies between 26 December and 29 January running every 45 minutes from the usual 75 minutes, many travellers have been left confused because the timetable changes were announced very late and still remain virtually unadvertised.
Passengers from Frankston have been told at Frankston station that there has been no change to the timetable for the summer period. Advice about the altered service has not even been seen in the buses providing the service, and no printed timetables are available.
“It is almost as if the government doesn’t care whether people even know about the 788 service at all,” Mr Lunn said.
Despite that, he noted that on average an estimated 70 passengers have been using each service over the holiday period. That means between 2450 and 3220 passenger movements each day, including weekdays and weekends.
“In fact, patronage could have been even greater because there have been reports of overloading and buses unable to pick up passengers at some stops because of overloading,” Mr Lunn said.
The PTUA says the State Government must provide and promote 15 minutes service frequencies on the 788 route, particularly during the holiday and peak periods.
The Association estimates that could increase in patronage to well in excess of 10,000 trips per day during the summer holidays. Not only would that be a boon to local residents and holiday makers, it would take the pressure off the local road system and car parks.
“That sort of boost to public transport services would help return the Southern Peninsula to the relaxing holiday destination it used to be, rather than the de facto car lot that it has become,” Mr Lunn concluded.