On the buses

By CAM LUCADOU-WELLS

A LOW-cost solution could provide a compelling case to end Keysborough South residents’ public transport isolation.
Ventura Bus Lines, in partnership with Greater Dandenong Council, has penned a business case for a bus running every 30 minutes through the burgeoning suburb’s new housing estates.
The plan, submitted to Public Transport Victoria before the last election, extends the existing bus route 702 between Moordialloc Railway Station and Waterways estate.
The route would be extended via Keysborough South and Parkmore shopping centre to Noble Park railway station.
The service, which would also replace segments of routes 812 and 815, would be a fraction of the cost of creating an entirely new route, it is argued.
Greens upper house MP Nina Springle told Parliament last week that the “modest and cost-effective” plan was urgently needed for the fast-growing suburb.
She said its public transport poor residents had been coping by buying extra cars but “those days are over”.
She said the suburb’s teenagers would become “isolated and disadvantaged in terms of work and education if they do not get a bus service soon”.
“Meanwhile, their grandparents are moving back in with the families and they need public transport, too.”
Keysborough Labor MP Martin Pakula, whose party’s pre-election bus policy doesn’t include Keysborough South, said consultations would be held this year.
“I will continue to lobby for a new route on behalf of the local community.”
Mayor Sean O’Reilly said the low-cost proposal ought to elevate it on the government’s list of priorities.
“The danger is if residents have to continue to rely on cars for everything, they might not swap over to public transport as readily.
“That’s why the time is ripe for it to be implemented as soon as possible.”
According to the council the suburb’s population is expected to grow from 7695 to more than 12,000 in the next 10 years.
Greater Dandenong councillor Matthew Kirwan said public transport was top of residents’ concerns along with the lack of a nearby government school and community facilities.
A separate report commissioned by Bus Association Victoria last year estimated an economic pay-off of $8 for every dollar spent on new bus services across Melbourne.
PTV is expected to announce its next biannual review of bus routes in April.

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