Monday, June 22, 2009

healesville rounds out bus review

Today saw the final bus service review workshop for Yarra Ranges. Since my last entry about the workshops in Upwey and Mooroolbark (see blog), further workshops have been held in Yarra Junction and Healesville. It has been an interesting process attending all four workshops across Yarra Ranges. The community and their needs are broad, however everyone wants to see greater frequency and span of hours for our bus services.

Changes proposed to route 697 include the service going through to Fountain Gate Shopping Centre - this change was well received by the community at the Upwey workshop.

The community of Yarra Junction had these things to say on the recommendations presented by the consultants, Booz & Co:
The span of hours and frequency of service must be increased on route 683 (the bus from Lilydale to Warburton/East Warburton). This service is seen as a good service for the community, however so popular at peak times that overcrowding was a significant issue.
The country fare continues to be one of the most critical issues to the community along the Upper Yarra corridor and it was mentioned many times as unfair and inequitable.
note: people travelling on this route have to pay the 'country' fare and also purchase a met ticket for the latter part of their journey to Lilydale.
There were concerns about the safety at the transport terminus at Lilydale.
There should be more low floor buses available.
The alternate route 683A along Clegg Road was seen as very positive change for those in the retirment village in Mt Evelyn.

The Healesville community had these things to say about the recommendations:
There needed to be an increase in frequency and span of operation on route 685 (Healesville to Lilydale) and route 663 (Lilydale to Monbulk to Belgrave) needed to operate 7 days a week.
The proposed 685 express was seen as a good idea, running from Lilydale to Healesville.
There were concerns about the loss of service to Chum Creek.
There was mention of the need to improve connections with rail services.
The issue of the country fare was also raised at this workshop (along with Yarra Junction).

The buses lined up on Belgrave Gembrook Road. It is proposed that route 693 terminates at Upper Ferntree Gully (instead of Belgrave) as the new extension to route 695 will run from Gembrook to Belgrave and through to Knox City. The community was very pleased with this recommendation.

Route 694 is proposed to be discontinued, this will see no bus service along Sherbrooke Road, this was met with a great degree of opposition from the community at the Upwey workshop.

Now that the workshops in Yarra Ranges have concluded the consultants will review and consider all the feedback from the community and draft a final report for the Department of Transport.

The recommendations from that report will be measured up against the transport priorities across Melbourne. I hope from this process that our community will see some improvements to local services. I am concerned that an expectation has been built that may never be delivered. We must make sure that our local MPs are reminded that this review is about improving local services which mustn't be traded off against other Melbourne priorities.

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