State Budget: Upgrades welcome, but no step change

Passengers on board a bus

The Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) has welcomed measures in the 2023 Victorian Budget funding incremental public transport improvements, particularly in outer suburban communities.

“Bus upgrades for growth areas such as Melton, Maddingley, Wyndham and Casey will provide vital connections for those communities, enabling better access to education, employment and other opportunities”, said PTUA spokesperson Daniel Bowen.

“Likewise, upgrades to V/Line, including increased weekend services will help a lot to cut waiting times and relieve crowding, given the patronage growth sparked by the recent fare cut.

“The continued transition to Zero Emissions Buses, new and upgraded maintenance facilities to improve train reliability, a new station in Tarneit, and enabling works for the rollout of new trams in Melbourne’s northwest are also very welcome.

“But we are not seeing the step change in public transport services that Melbourne and Victoria desperately needs.

“Even as our population continues to grow, the budget figures show no increase at all in public transport service kilometres in 2023-24. Unfortunately it appears the incremental service improvements amount to a rounding error.

“Cost of living pressures are a real issue for many Victorians. A household where some or most of their trips can be done without a car will save thousands of dollars a year.

“But this is only possible if they have viable walking, cycling and public transport alternatives to driving.”