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Media Release


Bus system "an embarrassment to the region"

Users call for frequent buses and reliable connections to trains

The Geelong Branch of the Public Transport Users Association has called on major parties to commit to a long-overdue upgrade of the region's buses, labelling present services "an embarrassment to the Geelong region."

Spokesperson Tim Petersen said a well-planned network of frequent buses, that ran late into the evening and made reliable connections to trains, would give Geelong a public transport system to be proud of.

"Melburnians happily recommend catching trams to visitors; but how many Geelong people would be willing to do the same for our buses?" he asked.

"Currently, Geelong's urban buses stop running before the sun goes down. They run on indirect routes, connect to trains only by accident, and can leave people waiting over an hour to make even short trips. It's no wonder that buses are little more than a last resort for people who can't drive."

Mr Petersen said services to the Bellarine Peninsula and the Surf Coast were even worse, and failed to provide even a basic level of service for young people or the increasingly aged population.

"Despite the enormous amount of travel between coastal towns and Geelong, public transport users often have to wait hours between buses. A service connecting the north and south of the Bellarine Peninsula runs only on Saturdays, while on busy Sunday summer afternoons, only one bus is scheduled to return along the Great Ocean Road to Geelong."

Mr Petersen said that if public transport was to bring greater benefits to the region and provide better value for public subsidies, the State Government needed to improve bus services so they became a viable transport choice for everybody.

He said that many candidates were anxious to be seen to support better bus services. However, he warned that changes for the better would require specific commitments, especially on bus frequency, "not just motherhood statements from candidates."

Mr Petersen said voters were entitled to expect the following commitments on buses:

  • Urban buses that run every 15 minutes on direct routes, run until midnight and connect with every train.
  • Half-hourly buses to the Bellarine Peninsula and Torquay that connect with trains.
  • Cheaper fares on the Bellarine Peninsula.
  • Buses providing a north-south link across the Bellarine Peninsula, running seven-days-a-week.
  • Buses along the Great Ocean Road to Lorne running at least every hour.

The PTUA last week released guidelines on better rail services for the region.

PTUA Office 9650 7898

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Last Modified: 17 October 2002