Bus proposals welcomed

Bus at Hallam station

The Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) has welcomed Infrastructure Victoria’s paper on fixing Melbourne’s bus network.

PTUA spokesperson Daniel Bowen said that IV’s recommendations to the government were to be applauded.

“For many Melburnians, their only local public transport is buses. But the bus network is poorly funded, poorly planned, and poorly implemented. With indirect confusing routes, infrequent timetables, and a lack of evening and weekend services, most bus routes are simply not a viable option for most trips.

“We’re very pleased to see Infrastructure Victoria identify the upgrades needed to bring buses up to scratch.”

IV’s action plan included better frequencies, optimised fast and direct routes, extended operating hours, on-road priority measures, and the introduction of Bus Rapid Transit.

Mr Bowen said that Bus Rapid Transit had real potential to quickly and efficiently move large numbers of people. “Cities like Brisbane have shown the way here – with fast frequent buses separated from road traffic, moving thousands every day.

“Even in Melbourne, past investments in better buses, such as the late-2000s Smartbus routes and the university shuttles have shown that Melburnians will use buses where the service is good enough.

IV also proposed cheaper fares for buses. Mr Bowen said that the PTUA agreed fares needed to be affordable across trains, trams and buses, but that the highest priority was ensuring that public transport provided a viable alternative to driving.

“Better bus services, especially in middle and outer suburbs that are crying out for decent public transport, would get people out of their cars, providing relief from the traffic and saving households thousands of dollars a year.”