The Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) is calling on all Mulgrave by-election candidates to champion 7-day bus services on crucial routes within the electorate.
Key Mulgrave bus routes 800, 802, 804, 814 and 885 do not operate on Sundays despite providing residents in the electorate a connection to destinations such as Chadstone, Monash University, Dandenong, Glen Waverley and Waverley Gardens.
Bus operating hours are also subpar, with up to 2-hour waits and timetables that finish around 3:30 p.m. on Saturdays despite high usage on the trips that do operate.
In the wake of changing travel patterns in a post-COVID world, the PTUA believes that ensuring the availability of public transport services seven days a week is more vital than ever.
“Limited bus services increase the cost of living, lessens access to jobs and cements car reliance at a time when many Mulgrave people are struggling with the cost of living.” says PTUA president Tony Morton.
Patronage data state-wide have demonstrated the way people use public transport has evolved significantly. Travel patterns have shifted, and we’ve seen an increasing number of trips taking place outside of traditional peak hours. This new trend emphasises the pressing need for comprehensive, frequent and reliable services every day of the week.
Some timetables have not had any new services added in over 30 years despite rising demand and population growth.
7-day bus services are crucial to allow Mulgrave residents easy and affordable access to employment opportunities, medical services, and education. 7-day bus services accommodate everyone’s diverse schedules and needs, making public transport an accessible and dependable choice for all members of the community.
The provision of 7-day services on routes 800, 802, 804, 814, and 885, will greatly increase the economic opportunities for residents in Mulgrave as well as reduce car dependence that is so prevalent in many middle and outer Melbourne suburbs.
Dr Morton added that 7-day services are affordable to provide as it would merely work the existing bus fleet harder. “Buses should be on the roads 7 days getting people where they need to be, not locked up in depots”, he said.
The PTUA invites all candidates running in the Mulgrave by-election to recognise the positive impact that 7-day bus services can have on the region’s residents and its future. The PTUA calls upon these candidates to commit to advocating for comprehensive public transport services to meet the changing needs of the community.