20 June 2023, 13:02
Victorian Legislative Council, Melbourne

David ETTERSHANK (Western Metropolitan):

My constituency question is for the minister for public transport and infrastructure. My constituent is a resident of Melton and recently pointed me to council modelling for a vastly improved bus network for the Melton LGA.

She said that implementing the council’s proposed changes would benefit 40,000 people currently without public transport services, improve access to employment and education precincts and reduce private motor vehicle trips. These changes are desperately needed.

Melton LGA is one of Victoria’s largest growth corridors, and with approximately 300,000 trips originating from Melton per day, only 2 per cent are on the bus. A simple realignment of the bus network with no major investment would take as little as six months and service an additional 17,200 people compared to the existing network.

A $3 million investment would service an additional 24,000 residents, and a $10 million investment an extra 57,000 people. So my constituent asks: what steps has the government taken or will take to implement the council’s bus upgrade plans?

Written Answer
Received: 21 July 2023
Hon Ben Carroll MP
(Minister for Industry and Innovation, Minister for Manufacturing Sovereignty, Minister for Employment, Minister for Public Transport)

I thank the Member for Western Metropolitan Region for his question.

The Andrews Labor Government recognises the important role buses play in meeting the travel needs of people living in Melbourne’s growing outer suburbs and has invested over $550 million in the bus network since 2014.

In June 2021, we released Victoria’s Bus Plan which sets out how we will start to deliver a modern, productive, environmentally sustainable bus network that increases the number of people choosing to take the bus by delivering simple, safe, reliable and comfortable journeys. It notes important opportunities for the bus network including leveraging connectivity with the rail network and making the most of investment in infrastructure.

Through Victoria’s Bus Plan, the Department of Transport and Planning (DTP) is planning a new style of bus network that is higher frequency and more connected to give more freedom and choice for where people want to go.

To deliver bus network reform, DTP plans to pilot this new style of bus network by testing and providing new and innovative ways of delivering bus services. To do this we need to ensure we’re designing and delivering in a way that listens to local experiences and industry knowledge. Consultation has occurred in three pilot areas across Victoria in Melbourne’s northern and north-eastern suburbs and in Mildura. The feedback gathered from this consultation will help to inform the future planning of the bus network.

DTP considers several factors when reviewing a bus network including the likely number of users, suitability of the road network for bus operations, current and future land use, and the development of a direct and easily understood network and connectivity with other public transport services.  The work by council will be considered in future planning of bus services in Melton.

In October 2022, a new on-demand bus service FlexiRide to Tarneit North was introduced, giving residents a convenient way to get to work, school, the local shopping centre and transport hubs. This follows the implementation of the FlexiRide in Melton South in December 2021. 

We’re currently in the process of introducing a new bus route between Sunbury and Diggers Rest stations to deliver better connections to shops, schools, train stations and other amenities. The new Route 475 will operate seven days a week and will address coverage gaps on Elizabeth Drive in Sunbury and on the western side of Diggers Rest, while also linking with trains at Diggers Rest Station to connect Sunbury and Diggers Rest locals to the broader transport network.

The 2023-24 Victorian State Budget includes funding for the introduction of a new bus route operating between the Eynesbury township and Melton Station, and for an extension of the Route 433 to connect Maddingley with Bacchus Marsh. 

More information on these services will become available closer to implementation.

We have also invested $650 million in the Melton Line Upgrade to improve the transport network in Melbourne’s west. This project will upgrade stations, lengthen platforms and build extra train stabling to allow nine-car VLocity trains on the line, increasing capacity by 50 per cent and reducing crowding on the busiest train services. Melton will also be level crossing free with the removal of another four dangerous and congested crossings on the line by 2028.

This project builds on the recently completed Ballarat Line Upgrade which has provided 200 extra weekly services to stations between the city and Melton.


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