The Andrews Labor Government will not proceed with proposals to radically change metropolitan bus services outlined in recent media reports.
Minister for Public Transport, Jacinta Allan, said the changes proposed by bus operator Transdev were inconsistent with the Andrews Labor Government’s focus on better bus services across metropolitan Melbourne based on community consultation.
The proposed bus network changes involve cutting services in Melbourne’s north and west, some by more than 20 per cent, in favour of service improvements in the eastern and southern suburbs.
Buses, including Smartbus services, play an important role in connecting people to jobs, education and other modes of transport. Cutting buses, particularly without proper consultation, would leave people isolated and without access to the services they plan their lives around.
Rather than proceeding with the suggested changes, the Andrews Labor Government will direct PTV and Transdev to develop a more balanced bus network proposal in consultation with local communities.
Consultation and investment is at the centre of Labor’s Plan for Victoria’s Bus Network, which the Government took to last year’s election.
The Andrews Labor Government will establish a Ministerial consultative group and new transport forums based around local government areas. These bodies will look at ways to expand and improve public transport, including buses.
In addition, Labor’s $100 million bus plan sets out improvements to specific bus routes, and outlines a range of other measures to make Melbourne’s buses better.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Public Transport, Jacinta Allan
“Demand for buses is growing faster than any other mode of transport, and we need to make sure they continue to meet the needs of our community.”
“Rather than cutting buses in one area to increase buses in another, the Andrews Labor Government will develop a more balanced bus network plan in consultation with the community.”
“Our focus and our mandate is to invest in and improve public transport. That’s why we’re building Melbourne Metro, that’s why we’re removing 50 level crossings and that’s why we’re rejecting the proposed changes in favour of better bus services for Melbourne.”