Bus review due next year

Councillor Rafal Kaplon has started a renewed push for better bus services for Casey. Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS


CASEY council has got the wheels rolling on a renewed push for better bus services for the municipality.
At last week’s council meeting, councillors unanimously resolved to re-launch its bus services advocacy campaign for a ’20 minute bus service for a 20 minute City’ given it’s an election year.
Councillor Rafal Kaplon, who raised the motion, said given the recent announcement by Public Transport Victoria (PTV) of a major review of bus services in Brimbank, it was time to call for a similar review in Casey.
PTV spokeswoman Helen Witton told the News this week that PTV will be conducting a review of bus services in the City of Casey next year.
Cr Kaplon said there were a number of concerns.
“Under the current situation, existing bus services in Casey are indirect and on average travel twice the distance of a direct bus route,” he said.
“They only travel to one activity centre or railway station which reduces demand for the service especially in suburbs like Endeavour Hills were all bus routes lead to Dandenong, whilst the Fountain gate service only has three off-peak services between 10.48am and 1.48pm.
“They are infrequent with an average frequency of 45 minutes and are not co-ordinated with trains, which requires commuters to drive to stations.
“They lack coverage, with whole suburbs, such as Lyndhurst, having no access to bus services at all, or places like Berwick, Doveton and Endeavour Hills which are outside the 400 metre bus route catchments.”
Cr Kaplon made a number of suggestions to improve the service.
“For the same operation cost as the current service the bus network in Casey could be configured to provide direct services along arterial roads and secondary arterial roads,” he said.
“Also connections to multiple railway station, an example of which would include connecting Endeavour Hills to the Hallam railway station which most commuters now drive to in order to avoid the long travel time to and parking hassles at Dandenong.
“And buses that run at a 20 minute frequency with 10 minute frequencies on key corridors and that connect with train timetables and the early delivery of services for new estates.
“Casey needs to continue advocating for this until a commitment to the complete implementation of a direct and frequent bus network throughout Casey’s main traffic routes is achieved by 2015.”
Ms Witton, from PTV, said a review of bus services in the City of Casey would take place in 2014.
“Any new bus services will be considered in future budgets and in the context of competing priorities around the state,” she said.
Ms Witton said the review of bus services in Brimbank came about as part of the ongoing program of reviewing bus networks across Victoria to ensure they meet the needs of the community.
“As part of an extensive review, PTV identified a number of shortcomings in the Brimbank bus network, as many bus routes and timetables have not been updated in years,” she said.
“Expanded shopping centres, train services, residential development and changed travel patterns mean that the Brimbank bus network is ready to be revised to better suit the community.
“PTV will predominately be reorganising our existing resources to improve bus services in the Brimbank area.”