THE STATE Government is undertaking a major review of the bus network in Melbourne’s north and northeastern suburbs as part of a plan to develop a modern, faster, reliable and environmentally sustainable network for local communities.
The review will undertake online consultation with the communities spanning local government areas, including Manningham, Moreland, Darebin, Banyule and Hume, to understand current travel behaviours better.
Consultation is now underway following the launch of an online survey and will run until Sunday, October 16.
Minister for Public Transport Ben Carroll said the government is thoroughly examining how it can improve local bus services in growth areas, implement bus reform, improve accessibility, and deliver better outcomes for passengers.
“We are focused on delivering a modern, productive, environmentally sustainable bus network that increases the number of people choosing to take the bus.”
He said this engagement will give a better understanding of how people currently use their bus services and what would encourage them to use buses more — including where, when and how they would like to travel.
This information will help inform future planning for bus reform in these areas of Melbourne and provide insights and learnings that might be applied to other metropolitan or regional networks.
These areas were selected for their diverse transport profiles, including servicing major, business, retail and educational precincts such as Latrobe University’s Bundoora Campus.
These reviews are part of the implementation of Victoria’s Bus Plan, released in June 2021, which sets out how the Labor Government will shape the bus network in ways that increase the number of people choosing to take the bus by delivering simple, safe, reliable and comfortable journeys.
This includes examining new and innovative ways of delivering bus services, such as demand responsive services.
Network reform will be guided by four new bus network categories that clearly define a route’s role, purpose and function within a network.
Category 1 — Rapid Routes.
These are the high-speed networks, which deliver faster, more frequent services on strategic bus corridors with on-road priority, such as dedicated bus lanes, and a limited number of stops to ensure travel times are fast.
Category 2 — Connector Routes
Typically, these routes connect suburbs to key transport hubs, employment and education precincts, and shopping centres.
Category 3 — Local Routes
These are the local streets of our bus network, which provide local access to nearby shops and services and have a lower frequency and shorter span of hours.
Category 4 — School Routes
These routes meet the demand created mostly by high school students travelling to and from school.
The Zero Emission Bus Trial saw a $20 million Victorian Government investment, and all new buses will be zero emissions from 2025.
Demand Responsive Transport (FlexiRide) has been introduced in Croydon, Lilydale, Rowville and other locations across Victoria.
FlexiRide is an on-demand bus service with no fixed route and only operates when booked. Passengers can book a trip from a location near their home to be taken to a range of popular destinations, such as to make rail connections.
Rapid Running is being successfully trialled on Route 246 along Hoddle Street between Clifton Hill and Elsternwick, with plans for up to 10 more routes before the end of 2023.
The Rapid Running trial has no fixed timetable and a 10-minute “turn up and go” frequency between 7am and 7pm on weekdays.
This means buses will operate with the traffic along the route and no longer slow down or wait at bus stops if running ahead of schedule.
New FlexiRide proposal for Greensborough
The State Government recently announced it will be establishing a FlexiRide bus service for the Greensborough area and are currently seeking community and commuter engagement so the Department of Transport (DOT) can better place the FlexiRide hubs.
The survey is open until October 23.
Minister for Public Transport, Ben Carroll said the Government is investing in buses for Banyule and Nillumbik.
“We are listening to the community on how we can improve services, improve accessibility and deliver better outcomes for all passengers,” he said.
The introduction of the new service would also require minor changes to bus routes in the Greensborough area.
Both Route 514 Glenroy — Eltham via Greensborough and Route 517 Northland — St Helena are planned to end at Greensborough, with the discontinued sections set to be replaced by the new FlexiRide service.
Route 518 Greensborough — St Helena West will also be replaced by FlexiRide, with locals able to take advantage of a more accessible service.
All other local bus services, including school specials, will remain unchanged.
For students who attend St Helena Secondary College, the Department of Transport will work towards a solution.
Member for Eltham, Vicki Ward encourages those who use buses in the Greensborough area to engage with this survey.
“We want to hear from the community about changes we are making to the local bus network to ensure locals can continue to get where they need to go easier than ever before,” she said.
Your chance to engage
Residents living or working in Manningham or the other municipalities under review can have their say about the bus network in their community by visiting engage.vic.gov.au/busreform.
For those interested in engaging in the Greensborough FlexiBus survey, visit engage.vic.gov.au/flexiridegreensborough.