Local bus routes in Melbourne’s north western suburbs will benefit from a $2.8 million Brumby Labor Government improvement package which will deliver new services, longer operating hours and provide public transport access to some areas for the first time.
Public Transport Minister Martin Pakula said the improvement package followed community consultation and the completion of two local bus service reviews covering the municipalities of Hume, Melton, Brimbank and Moonee Valley.
"The Brumby Labor Government is taking action to meet the changing needs and growing demands for public transport services in Melbourne’s north-west," Mr Pakula said.
"These comprehensive reviews include new bus networks for Melbourne and Sunbury and improved services for Caroline Springs, Moonee Ponds and Melbourne Airport.
"Many of the existing bus services in the outer north-west date back to when the area had a much smaller population. In coming months, the Brumby Labor Government will be introducing new and improved bus routes to cater for the transport needs of an area that has changed and grown significantly in the past few years.
"This will deliver bus services to new and developing suburbs, and boost services in established areas."
Member for Melton Don Nardella said that the announcement was great news for residents of the Melton Township, with two new routes and improvements to existing routes in Melton to begin by mid-year.
"Two new routes will extend bus services into the growing areas of Micasa Rise, Roslyn Park and Brookfield, meaning many residents will have access to public transport for the first time," Mr Nardella said.
"The new Melton local bus network will streamline local bus routes so that they provide much more direct trips to Melton Station, Woodgrove Shopping Centre and the Town Centre. This is great news for residents of Kurunjang, Melton West, Arnolds Creek and Westlake who will benefit from faster, more direct bus trips to the station and the shops.
"These improvements will mean 474 extra bus trips each week in Melton, and all local bus routes in Melton will operate to 9pm, seven days a week."
Member for Kororoit Marlene Kairouz said Caroline Springs residents could look forward to the introduction of a new bus route.
"A new bus route, travelling from Watergardens Railway Station to Rockbank Middle Road, will be introduced by early 2011," Ms Kairouz said.
"This new route will operate till 9pm, seven days a week, and gives some residents of Caroline Springs public transport access for the first time.
Member for Macedon Joanne Duncan said Sunbury would benefit from a new and improved bus network.
"Sunbury has grown and changed significantly in recent years and these improvements to the bus services will ensure the public transport network keeps pace with that growth," Ms Duncan said.
"There will be 340 extra bus trips per week in Sunbury and all of the local bus routes in Sunbury will operate till 9pm, seven days a week.
"A new route will extend bus services to Canterbury Hills, and existing routes will be extended further into Mt Lion, Wilsons Lane and Jacksons Hill, meaning many residents will have bus services for the first time.
"More direct services from Killara Heights to Sunbury Private Hospital and the station will mean faster journeys for commuters connecting with trains to the city."
Member for Essendon Judy Maddigan said that the bus service operating between Sunbury and Moonee Ponds via Melbourne Airport would also be upgraded.
"This service upgrade will improve public transport options for travellers as well as people employed at the airport who travel from Moonee Ponds, Essendon and Sunbury," Ms Maddigan said.
Mr Pakula said that the $2.8 million package of upgrades for the outer north-west was the result of community consultation as part of the Brimbank/Melton and Brimbank/Hume/Melton/Moonee Valley Bus Service Reviews, and would complement the SmartBus improvements already happening in the area.
"Thanks go to the many residents who had taken the time to attend the bus review workshops - I want to congratulate them for the service ideas they suggested," he said.
"Along with the recent introduction of SmartBus Routes 902 and 903 to the West, and next year’s extension of SmartBus Route 901 to Melbourne Airport, these improvements will make the bus an even more popular option for local residents."
Mr Pakula said the bus reviews were part of a program being undertaken by the Brumby Labor Government to improve bus services throughout suburban Melbourne.
"In the Victorian Transport Plan, we committed $500 million improving local bus services across Melbourne," he said.
· Introduce a new bus service to improve public transport coverage to Micasa Rise and Roslyn Park and to provide connections to Woodgrove Shopping Centre, Melton
· Town Centre and Melton Station
· Provide a simplified and more direct bus route to Kurunjang, with connections to Woodgrove Shopping Centre, Melton Town Centre and Melton Station
· Provide a direct bus route to Melton West, with connections to Woodgrove Shopping Centre, Melton Town Centre and Melton Station
· Provide a simplified and more direct bus route to Arnolds Creek/Westlake, with connections to Woodgrove Shopping Centre and Melton Station
· Introduce a new bus service to improve public transport coverage to Brookfield and extending to the growth areas
· Introduce a new bus route to improve public transport coverage in Caroline Springs
· Route 481 – Restructure and extend bus route to provide services to Mt Lion
· Route 485 – Restructure and extend bus route to provide services to Bradman Drive and Wilsons Lane
· Route 487 – Restructure bus route to provide a more direct service from Killara Heights to Sunbury
· Route 488 – Extend bus route to provide services to the developing area of Jacksons Hill
· Route 489 – Introduce this new bus route to provide services to Cantebury Hills, Sunbury Hospital and McEwen Drive
· Improve bus services from Sunbury and Moonee Ponds to Melbourne Airport