Better Buses Campaign
What is our vision?
Public Transport is for everyone. Communities in Melbourne's West deserve access to a bus network that is fast, frequent and connected, serviced by clean electric buses.
Better Buses is a community-led campaign, calling on the Victorian state government to transform the bus network from the existing long, convoluted routes, to a fast, frequent and connected grid of clean, electric buses running 10-minute frequency all day, every day, and increasing our access to jobs, education, healthcare and to each other!
Why the West?
Melbourne's Western suburbs have some of the fastest growing populations in the country. The City of Wyndham has a population bigger than all of Geelong, or all of Wollongong. Yet these communities have some of the worst Public Transport access in our city.
In some areas, buses run only every 40-50 mins, and some suburbs have no train station or are only on v-line. There are no trams at all in the outer West.
Newer developments such as Mount Atkinson (Melton) and Mambourin Estate (Werribee) have no public transport at all. These estates also don't have basic ammenities like supermarkets, pharmacies or medical centres. Communities in these areas are completely dependent on cars, driving up their daily cost of living and leaving people isolated if they don't drive.
Forced car dependency drives up Victoria's transport emissions, which are the second largest and fastest growing in the state.
In the LGA's of Brimbank and Melton, 20% of households have 3 or more cars...
Communities in these areas are desperately calling for Better Buses to make sure that everyone has equitable access to jobs, education, healthcare and to each other. Our Sustainable Cities collective has been organising communities in the West to share their stories, and demand action from decision makers to provide a network of buses fast, frequent and connected, so that we can all move safely and comfortably around our neighbourhoods.
What are our key asks?
● Route reform in this term of government ⏳
● Invest in clean, electric buses and state-owned charging infrastructure to decarbonise our bus network ♻️
● Prioritise Melbourne's Western suburbs, which is the fastest growing area in the country 🏙
● Invest in accessible transport to ensure the people living with mobility issues can safely get around our communities 🚌
● Adequate community consultation for bus reform in every step of the planning and implementation process and communication of route changes in a way that is understandable to the wider community 🗣
Community Voices at the Centre
Where are we at now?
- Millions of dollars being cut from community health sector
Big ticket transport projects on hold
(incl Melbourne West rail plan and airport rail )
- Opportunity to push for buses as cheaper way to provide transport while govt can't afford bigger PT projects
- Bus reform being recognised by key industries as the silver bullet to ease traffic congestion and reduce transport emissions
Our short term ask:
In May 2023, the Victorian government announced changes to their process for re-contracting bus companies. Rather than one-on-one negotiations, the contracts will be put out to a public tender for bus companies to bid on.
They told us that this will make bus reform easier to do, as it will eliminate the issue of having too many smaller bus companies running 1-2 routes across the network which, they said, is what has made reform difficult in the past.
However, we know that the bus company CDC Victoria - a private bus company backed by global corporation Comfort Del Gro - runs the majority of the bus routes in Melbourne’s Western suburbs, including all of the services in Wyndham. Of the 55 bus routes that they run across the network, 49 of them run out of their 3 depots in the West.
This major company has all of the capacity and capability to reform their routes, and we know that the bus planners in the Department of Transport and Planning have the skills to execute this reform in the immediate term.
We have called the government’s bluff and now we are asking: Can the government reform CDC Victoria's routes in the West now?
Existing PTV Western suburban services & existing CDC Western suburban services:
Rapid population growth in the West is increasing the urgency of the need for better buses. Wyndham City Council has one of the fastest growing populations in the country, with 14 kids born each day. Only one year ago that number was 12.. Starting with a pilot in Wyndham immediately would serve the community, and provide the blueprint for reform to be rolled out across the city.
Many families are struggling to keep up with the cost of living crisis, and forced car dependency only makes things worse. Not only that, but a recent report has shown that our car dependent transport system is damaging our health.
We need Better Buses now so that everyone in our community can move around safely and affordably. We call on the state government to pilot a fast, frequent and connected bus system in the areas of the West that currently sit within CDC’s contract. And then - expand that system to the rest of Melbourne.
The time for Better Buses is now!
If you're interested to join our collective as we begin to execute our new strategy, sign up to our mailing list, or join us for a collective meeting!