Major public transport upgrade on the horizon
by Sammi Taylor
12th July 2017
Proposed rapid transit system to ease commuter congestion
GLOBAL PUBLIC transport company Transdev have put forward a proposal for a new Doncaster Bus Rapid Transit project.
The proposal presents a plan for Melbourne’s first ever express bus way, potentially revolutionising public transport for the eastern suburbs.
A BRT system would separate purpose built and high capacity buses from other traffic such as cars and SMART buses, by providing a dedicated bus lane with full right of way.
If the plan goes ahead, it would see the Eastern Freeway median strip — which has been reserved for the potential Doncaster rail link — developed into a bus expressway.
The bus way would also continue down the centre of Hoddle Street, making for just a 30 minute journey from Doncaster to the CBD.
This could be welcome news for commuters, who currently travel for 47 minutes or more during peak times — and for Warrandyte residents, who often travel for over an hour on the current 906 route.
The bus way would be the first of its kind here in Victoria, but Transdev has built similar systems overseas with successful bus rapid transit operations in Bogotá, Columbia and the French cities of Rouen and Nantes.
The new purpose built buses will have a capacity of up to 150 people, and are believed to operate more like a rail link (with fast transit times and minimal waiting times for services in peak hours) than a traditional bus lane.
Transdev’s proposal has been welcomed by Manningham Council who believe the project can vastly improve commuter’s public transport experience in the eastern suburbs.
Leigh Harrison, Manningham Director Assets and Engineering spoke to the Diary and was hopeful the project would be approved by State Government as the project would greatly enhance eastern Melbourne’s public transport system.
“Transdev’s Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) proposal would provide Manningham’s commuters with a markedly improved public transport option that maximises what buses can offer.
We hope the proposal will be given serious consideration and support from the State Government,” he said.
But for Manningham Council, the Doncaster rail link still remains of the utmost importance and the Doncaster BRT is viewed as merely a short-term solution.
“Manningham remains the only Melbourne metropolitan municipality with no rail, and the proposal for a BRT is the next best thing in the short to medium term to cater for already overcrowded public transport services.
The proposed BRT may also offer improved reliability and travel times between the Melbourne CBD and Warrandyte,” said Mr Harrison.
Mr Harrison then went on to emphasise Manningham’s position that any sort of rapid transit system is merely a short-term solution to public transport congestion, congestion which Manningham thinks can only be resolved — in the long term — by the Doncaster rail link.
“The proposed BRT must be designed so as not to prevent a future Doncaster rail link and ensure the Eastern Freeway median is preserved for a future rail line to Doncaster.
Manningham Council will continue to advocate to the State Government to prioritise a rail line to Doncaster as the ultimate public transport solution for the area,” he said.
The BRT project remains in the proposal stage at this point in time.
Should the proposal gain the support or approval of the State Government, community engagement and conversation with key stakeholders will be carried out in order to develop the project appropriately.