Monday, March 23, 2009

bus review in yarra junction

Today I attended the Bus Review workshop in Yarra Junction. The workshop was well attended with a good mix of community members along the Warburton Highway corridor, many who are direct users of public transport as their only means of getting around.

The workshop went through a process of highlighting some of the key data around bus services in Yarra Ranges, Knox and Maroondah (this bus review covers off on all three municipalities). After that participants were asked to consider ‘things that work well’ with the bus services, next up was a focus on identifying problems with the bus services. Lastly participants were able to highlight their answers to bus service issues in the area.

Me, getting on board at the Belgrave Bus interchange, this bus is one of US Busline's new Euro 4 buses, more fuel efficient and less emissions intense and well fitted out to cater for all abilities access.

The list generated on the table I was sitting on was long and extensive and covered many different elements of bus travel including:
Storage of bikes on buses
Duplication of the Lilydale rail line
Coordinating bus services with school time tabling
Frequency and span of operation of bus route 683
Tourism, providing an adequate service to visitors to the area
Extension of Nightrider services
Better coordination with rail connections
New services, orbital (north/south) and express services
Improving bus stop infrastructure
Improving frequency of services across the board
Providing more funding for public transport services
Providing better early bird early bus services
Better promotion of how to use bus services
Abolition of the country fare
Use of fuel efficient vehicles

Results of the issues were presented to the group and the following came in as the top 5:
18% Network coverage including missing links and access for those located off the Warburton Highway
15% Span of hours of bus services
13% Abolition of the Country fare
11% Access for all abilities
8% Poor frequency of bus services

It was a very interesting session and it was no surprise to me that issues around frequency, span of hours and abolition of the country fare were high on people’s priorities. I look forward to attending the other two Bus Review sessions in Yarra Ranges this week, in Upwey (Tuesday 24/3) and Healesville (Thursday 26/3), and I’m certain that frequency and span of hours will be key issues in these regions too.

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