State Budget: More bus services to Chadstone

A queue of commuters boards a Saturday bus service at Chadstone Shopping Centre. The 800 route's services operate every 1-2 hours on Saturdays but is expected to run more frequently in an announced upgrade. Picture: PETER PARKER/FIX 800 BUS

by Cam Lucadou-Wells

More weekend services will be added to the popular Dandenong-Chadstone bus route 800, as part of the 2024-’25 State Budget.

Dandenong MP and Public and Active Transport Minister Gabrielle Williams posted on Facebook that the route will get Sunday services and extended services.

“Buses play an important role in our public transport network, helping to connect Victorians to work, school and each other.

“This Budget builds on our investments in public transport with $29.7 million for better services, helping people get where they need to go faster and more often.”

It comes after years of advocacy from the Fix800Bus Alliance – which gained the support of many Mulgrave by-election candidates in November for a seven-day service.

Fix800Bus Alliance stated after the budget that it understands the Sunday service, improved Saturday frequency and extended operating hours will be part of the upgrade.

Alliance convenor Peter Parker said it would improve the lives of thousands along the Princes Highway who will get seven-day buses for the first time in 30-plus years.

It is reportedly the busiest bus route in Melbourne without Sunday services.

“Route 800 operating more frequently seven days is essential for people to get to jobs and opportunities in the Chadstone, Monash and Dandenong areas.

“We look forward to a speedy implementation with wide operating hours and frequent seven-day service as befits a main highway bus route.”

Last year, Infrastructure Victoria’s report recommended more weekend services for the 800 route as part of a call for faster and more frequent bus services to major centres and train stations.

It also recommended more direct links between Endeavour Hills and other activity centres.

IV also called for buses into Dandenong South’s industrial precinct, including links to Casey-Cardinia and Keysborough.

In other public transport news from the Budget, final-stage funding for the Metro Tunnel was announced, the Suburban Rail Loop is continuing but the Airport Rail Link has been delayed for four years.

Public Transport Users Association spokesperson Daniel Bowen welcomed final-stage funding for the Metro Tunnel. A key question was its level of service when it opens in 2025, he said.

“The Metro tunnel is the government’s big chance to bring Melbourne’s rail system into the 21st century, and provide it with the all-day frequent services our growing city needs.

“If we get a shiny new tunnel but most people around the metro network are still waiting 20, 30, 40 minutes for a train, it will be a huge missed opportunity.”

Meanwhile, the Government announced the Suburban Rail Loop East section between Cheltenham and Box Hill was expected to cost up to $34.5 billion – including 11.8 billion from state funding. The latter was hoped to be matched by federal funding, and the rest of the funding from “value-capture sources”.

Transport infrastructure opposition spokesperson Craig Southwick said the Governmennt had hidden an up-to-$6.9 billion cost blowout on the SRL East project, with early works suffering a nine-month delay.

“Instead of being transparent with Victorians over their latest multi-billion-dollar cost blowout, Labor has buried the true cost of the SRL and cut or delayed other desperately needed rail projects to pay for it.

“Premier Jacinta Allan continues to put all our eggs in one basket, and communities across western Melbourne, growth corridors and regional Victoria continue to pay the price.”