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Media Release: Contract changes welcome but better bus services needed now


12th May 2023

On Wednesday 10th May, the Victorian Labor government announced big changes to the negotiation process for contracts between bus companies and the government. 

Previously, the government negotiated contract terms directly with bus companies. This policy change means that the contracts will now be put out to a public, competitive tender for bus companies to bid on. 

The media release from the government states that: 

Under the recontracting process, the market will be asked to submit proposals on how to boost passenger experience, deliver network and operating efficiencies and optimise the transition to zero emissions buses, building on the Government’s $20 million, Zero Emissions Bus (ZEB) Trial. 

“These changes are a great step for an efficient and logical transition towards zero emissions buses and we congratulate the Minister for Public Transport, Ben Carroll MP, for his commitment to this part of Victoria’s Bus Plan” said Friends of the Earth Better Buses Campaigner Elyse Cunningham

“But for this change to truly have a big impact on customer experience, and on reducing Victoria’s emissions, it is crucial that it is met with commitments to transforming the bus route network. Currently, Victorians do not have much faith in the outdated bus network, with its typically unreliable services  and a poor overall user experience. The Western suburbs in particular, which is the fastest growing area in Australia, have some of the worst bus services in Victoria” said Ms Cunningham

“The lack of regular, reliable bus services means that communities in the West are dependent on cars, leaving hardworking families paying more for car ownership and petrol, and creating polluting carbon emissions. Transport is the second largest and fastest growing source of emissions in Victoria, so getting people out of their cars and onto public transport in the immediate term is imperative if Labor wants to reach their target of net zero emissions by 2045.”

"As funding is set to be slashed for major public transport projects such as the airport rail in this budget, it is now crucial that the government implements bus reform.  Buses are a cheap, easy solution to get people moving.  The community is crying out for better buses.” 

For more comment, contact:

Elyse Cunningham

0421 559 343

Better Buses Campaigner

Sustainable Cities Coordinator 

Friends of the Earth Melbourne 

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