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Geelong Branch Media Release


Two Years and Five Months after the Bus Tour, Still No Improvements to Geelong Bus Frequency

Two years and five months after the Bus Tour, the Geelong Branch of the Public Transport Users Association has pledged to hold the Bracks Government accountable for its lack of action to improve Geelong's urban bus frequency. Spokesman Tim Petersen said that the branch would hand out 'policy scorecards' to commuters in the lead up to the State election.

"Tomorrow will mark two years and five months since the Geelong Branch of the Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) took the three government MP's Peter Loney, Ian Trezise and Elaine Carbines for a tour of Geelong’s bus system," spokesman Tim Petersen said today.

While experiencing difficulties obtaining a timetable at the Geelong Railway Station, MP's missed one bus to Highton and were forced to wait over an hour for the next one, despite being in Geelong's city centre at midday on a busy Saturday. They ended up walking back to their cars without ever having caught a bus.

At that time, the PTUA called for a major improvement in service frequency to every 15 minutes for urban Geelong buses, bus connections to trains, a review of bus routes and more buses in the evening and on weekends.

"However, despite the MPs acknowledging the unacceptable shortfalls of the system, we yet to see any frequency improvements for Geelong's urban buses from the Bracks Government," Mr Petersen said. "Bus users still have to endure an hour long wait between buses on Saturday morning. It wasn’t good enough for our politicians two years ago, and its not good enough now."

Mr Petersen said that Geelong wasn't asking for special treatment, just a fair level of services compared to Melbourne's established suburbs. "Geelong bus users endure long waits between buses that stop as early as 5pm on weekends." "Yet residents in Balwyn in Melbourne's eastern suburbs, with lower population densities and higher incomes, have access to a tram service running up to every 8 minutes (with a minimum frequency of every 20-30 minutes) until after midnight 365 days a year."

"There's no reason why Geelong should have such poor bus services. If anything, Geelong is more deserving than Melbourne's wealthy eastern suburbs. We are simply being neglected."

"Many candidates have done no more than pay lip service to improving our public transport. That's why we think it's important that voters know exactly what commitments parties have made," Mr Petersen said.

Mr Petersen said that after assessing major parties' policies, members of the Geelong branch would hand out policy scorecards at railway stations and around the public transport system in the lead up to the election. Copies will be provided to the media when the scorecard is released.

N.B. The Bus Tour was reported in the Geelong Advertiser "Geelong's bus timetable fails the test," 24/6/00, p. 1, and in the Geelong News, "MPs on the buses" 25/6/00, p. 7.

PTUA Office 9650 7898

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Last Modified: 21 November 2002