One-hour trip highlights options for better bus services
(L to R): Cr Richard Stockman, Orianna from Nillumbik’s Youth Council, Ann from Council’s Positive Ageing Advisory Committee, Member of the Legislative Council (North Eastern Metropolitan Region) Aiv Puglielli, Mayor Ben Ramcharan and Meg Exell, Team Leader Youth Development.
A simple bus ride between Diamond Creek and Mernda has highlighted opportunities to improve local bus services and make a difference to the lives of thousands of residents in Nillumbik and surrounding areas.
Nillumbik’s Blue Lake Ward councillor and member of the Metropolitan Transport Forum, Richard Stockman led a ‘One Bus – One Hour’ trip today on the 381 bus from Diamond Creek Station.
He was joined by Mayor Ben Ramcharan, North-Eastern Metropolitan Member of the Legislative Council Aiv Puglielli, Orianna from Nillumbik’s Youth Council and Ann, a member of Council’s Positive Ageing Advisory Committee, to board the 381 bus and discuss some of the challenges and opportunities around the service.
Cr Stockman said the ‘One Bus – One Hour’ event highlighted the importance of a review of local bus services to ensure they were meeting the needs of communities in the northern region.
“There are a number of opportunities to improve local bus services and help encourage a greater uptake of public transport use in Nillumbik and surrounding areas,” Cr Stockman said.
Mayor Ben Ramcharan said the bus trip was an opportunity to show how a good bus service could be turned into a great bus service.
“Some simple changes, including making bus routes more efficient, and more effective coordination of bus and train timetables could help ensure the diverse transport needs of our community are better supported,” he said.
“Having Orianna and Ann on board with us to share their stories about using public transport provided important insight into some of the opportunities to improve current bus services.
“A Local Area Bus Review across the Northern Metropolitan Partnership Region is one of Nillumbik Shire Council’s key advocacy priorities, and something we believe would be a small investment to achieve significant outcomes for our community.”
Nillumbik Youth Council member Orianna said buses were an essential service for young people who relied on public transport to travel to and from education, employment and health services.
“We have many young people in our community who don’t drive,” Orianna said. “Many of them do not live close to a train station, and so rely on buses to get around.
“Improvements to our bus services would go a long way in better supporting young people to travel to important appointments including mental health services, and with a Youth Hub planned for construction in Diamond Creek, there’s no better time than now to explore this.
“Of course the same applies to the many older people in our community who also rely on buses to get around.”
Cr Stockman said buses were often underestimated as an important mode of transport for the future.
“As more buses become electrified, and dedicated bus lanes create priority carriageways for these vehicles to move passengers freely, buses could very well be trams of the future – just without the rails,” he said.
“Some simple, common sense changes to bus services would make a world of difference for our community, and we urge the State Government to undertake a review of bus services in our local region so we can make buses better.”
The Nillumbik community is invited to share their ideas to make buses better by completing the Metropolitan Transport Forum’s Better Buses Community Survey, which is open until 12 November.