A new plan to strengthen the state’s bus network will include the introduction of ‘rapid running’ buses that will not wait to meet set times if they are running ahead of schedule.
Victoria’s public transport minister Ben Carroll announced the trial on Sunday. He said the rapid buses would initially operate on the ‘high frequency’ bus route 246 from Clifton Hill to Elsternwick and that the government was currently investigating other routes to expand the trial to over the coming months.
“These further steps to overhaul our bus network will bring together opportunities across the industry to deliver modern, environmentally sustainable and reliable services to more people throughout Victoria,” Carroll said.
“We’ll continue to trial improvements such as the rapid running bus service to ensure passengers get to their destination as quickly and safely as possible.”
Victoria’s 2021-22 budget allocated $74.3 million for bus reform planning, including key growth areas. The state’s bus network stretches across 5,200 kilometres and is serviced by a fleet of 4,000 vehicles.
New bus routes for Tarneit North are currently being planned and the government said it would also improve coverage across the suburbs of Clyde and Clyde North.
Changes to the bus service in the Yarra Valley and Broadmeadows will be made and extra buses will be put on to service two routes which connect Fishermans Bend and the CBD.
“We will work with the bus industry and the local communities to ensure we can deliver the best connections to schools, health services and jobs,” Carroll said.
As part of the government’s plan to build a ‘modern and environmentally sustainable’ bus service, it hopes to attract more commuters with cleaner, fleets that are more accessible.
The first milestone in improving the green credentials of Victoria’s buses has also been achieved, with a plan for a state zero emissions bus trial due to commence in 2022. To date more than 80 industry partners have registered interest and the government has received 38 proposals for the trial.
Victoria plans to only purchase zero emissions vehicles for its public transport bus fleet by 2025.
The minister also used his announcement to advise of timetable changes to 19 network routes from September. He said the changes will deliver additional weekend services with earlier start times and later finish times.