Skip navigation

Timeline of the Better Buses Campaign

Timeline of the Better Buses Campaign from 2021-now...


September 2021 - Launch of the Better Buses campaign 

Better Buses campaign officially launched online with nearly 100 folk from across Victoria! 

Local community groups, academics, councillors and union members, joined together for a robust discussion about the need to improve our bus services, particularly in the Western suburbs of Melbourne. Speakers included Rachel Lynskey, Iain Lawrie, Senthill Sundaram and Amedeo D’Aprano. 

October 2021 - Week of Action

In October 2021 we started an email action calling on the Victorian Minister for Public Transport to commit to 100% electric buses by 2030 - with 81 supporters already sending an email to the Minister. Ben Carroll mentions FOE in Parliament and talked about transport as the second largest source of emissions in Vic.

Crowdspot Launch
FOE worked with Crowdspot on the Better Buses Victoria project, to build a community engagement platform that provides users with the opportunity to give feedback on Victoria's bus network

December 2021 - building relationships 

Sustainable Cities begins building relationships with local councils across the state to advocate for Better Buses

We also: 

  • Met with Minister Carroll's senior advisor and policy staff about the Better Buses campaign
  • Sent over 100 emails to Minister Ben Carroll calling on him to increase ambition on electric buses
  • Made a submission to the Victorian Expert Panel on Zero Emissions Vehicles - highlighting the need for investment in electric buses, charging infrastructure and electric vehicles not being the only solution to reducing transport emissions
  • Made a submission to the 2022/23 Victorian state budget - to fund more frequent, connected and electric buses
  • Delivered Friends of the Earth's climate and environment policy to key MPs one year out from the election


January 2022 - Buses in the news and call for buses in Point Cook 

Call for better buses are heard in Point Cook through Better Buses campaign, where the community demanded more stops in the West 

(Image courtesy of Sydney Morning Herald 22.01.22) 

February 2022 

We held a welcome to 2022 picnic for our collective members and supporters. On 8 feb. we held a First Day of Vic Parliament Action- collective FoEM flyering action on Vic parliamentary steps

In February, our Crowdspot survey reached 550 submissions! 

March 2022 

  • Laura Sykes finishes as coordinator of Sustainable Cities 

June 2022 

  • Elyse Cunningham starts as coordinator of Sustainable Cities

July 2022

Researchers at Melbourne University published 2 papers ‘Better Buses for Melbourne’s West’ and ‘Melbourne’s Zero Emission Bus Transition’ to showcase the possibilities for bus reform in Melbourne. Since then, the collective has been able to utilise this work as an example of what’s possible advocate for transformational changes to create a fast, frequent and connected network of clean, electric buses, with 10-minute services all day, every day. 

August 2022

We showed up in solidarity with the Disability Resources Centre for their Get On Track protest. DRC Chairperson Martin Leckey attempted to board the tram at his inaccessible tram stop on Lygon St on each sitting day of parliament. 2022 marked the year that Australia was meant to have met the Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport 2002, but they failed to meet their mark by a long shot. 


During this time we worked together with OrganiseUs and the PTUA to create a beautiful videography series, sharing stories from teachers, students, mothers and more on how much Better Buses would mean to them. These were then shared at our community forums and across our socials, sharing the community voice on why better buses are important. 

October and November 2022

The months leading up to the Victorian state election were all about the forums, we joined the MTF forum on ‘Transport and the State Election’ where all anyone wanted to talk about was buses! Our Community Organiser Elyse Cunningham met Syeda Zahra, a community activist and resident of the Mt. Atkinson estate in Truganina who shared her experience with Elyse. It was this meeting that, unbeknownst at the time, became the catalyst for the creation of the Mt. Atkinson Residents Group who are actively campaigning for their transport and other needs regularly. 

Better Buses forums across the West community forums: 

We also organised 3 in-person community forums as well as 1 online forum to provide a space for community members to raise their questions and concerns, and share their local knowledge of the issue. We then invited candidates from the state election to share their commitments to better buses. Unfortunately no one from ALP was able to attend any of our in person forums, but we were joined by Williamstown MP Melissa Horne for our online forum in early November.

Western Transport Alliance 

Following our forums, a group of passionate local Westies dedicated to improving transport outcomes for Melbourne’s West formed the Western Transport Alliance. The group have met several times this year and are working towards formalising their priorities and structure. Watch this space… 


The first few months of 2023 were once again all about deep community organising and strategy work with the collective. Alongside this, we had exciting media moments such as our Dirt Radio interview on 21st Feb for International Mother Language Day with Iqbal and Mamun from the Victorian Bangladeshi Community Foundation. 

February 2023

We joined residents from the Mt Atkinson estate, facilitated through Syeda (whom Elyse met at the forum in October!) to support them in the initial stages of their lobbying of local MP Luba Grogorovitch at a meeting with her office manager, John Ballestrino. 

March 2023

We held a meeting with community in Mt Atkinson to discuss their concerns around buses, and how we as a campaign could support them to achieve their aims.

Mt. Atkinson Estate is 16 minutes by car, or more than 1 hour walking on a busy highway with no footpath. There are no buses, the closest bus stop is more than a 45-minute walk down an unsafe highway full of big trucks and fast cars. 

Our group attempted to walk from the Estate to the bus stop, however, the conditions were treacherous. We walked towards Hopkins Rd, crossed wide streets with traffic lights that don’t work yet, until eventually reaching a point where the footpath stops. To get to the closest bus stop from here, residents would need to walk through bushes, on an overpass and on the highway while traffic zooms by at 70 km/hr. 

April 2023

We began community action, working alongside Wynbus and Point Cook Action Group to organise a Bus Marathon at Mambourin Estate Werribee.

The event led by Senthill Sundaram was designed to demonstrate the lack of access to public transport in the newer estates, and the urgent need for buses now!
Our collective held a craft session making signs, cardboard buses and banners to bring along in solidarity with the community.

Following Mambourin we then held a second Bus Marathon at the Mt. Atkinson Estate, where a group of around 20 locals joined together and walked through the estate, including children who told us that they want the government to provide a bus for them so they can safely travel to school on their own.

May 2023

We began urgent action to save bus reform. The Victorian government cut huge amounts of funding for public transport, the public service and health in the 2023-24 budget. This included delaying major public transport projects like the Airport rail by 4 years or more. Projects like the Western Rail Plan were also delayed, meaning communities in the West were once again being left behind.

Our collective received word that the entire bus reform strategy was at risk if not adequately funded in the 2023-24 budget, so began a letter writing campaign targeting Treasurer Tim Pallas MP and Minister for Public Transport Ben Carroll MP. 

These actions culminated in a snap rally for bus reform.

On Wednesday 17th May 2023, community members from Melbourne’s Western suburbs were joined by the Sustainable Cities collective, along with folks from many allied community groups and councillors from Maribyrnong City council, at a rally to save bus reform ahead of the budget announcement on May 23rd.

Whilst our rally managed to keep some funding for bus reform in the budget, not nearly enough has been committed to bus reform, and the West still isn’t being prioritised...

June 2023

Our work over the past few months has turned back toward some deep organising and strategising. The collective have now begun surveying the communities in the West to find out what people need from the bus network, and demonstrate to the government the urgency of reform for communities that need it most. This is an ongoing project and we are working on getting materials translated into multiple languages to make it accessible to more of the community. 

In June we also joined in solidarity with the newly formed Sydney Rd Accessible Tram Stops campaign at their hugely successful rally for accessible tram stops. 

The group are urging the government to ensure that the area has accessible transport while the upfield line level crossing removal works take place. Please sign their petition to add your voice to the call. 

July 2023

After making a submission to the Inquiry into the impact of road safety behaviours on vulnerable road users, we were invited to speak to the committee on Tuesday 8th August. We made the point that a key way to increase safety for pedestrians, cyclists and wheelchair users is to tackle the root cause of the problem, too many cars on our roads! 

August 2023

  • Transport Equity Week website launch, set to take place September 17-23rd 2023. This will be a national week of action where individuals and orgs from across the country can demonstrate how transport disadvantage is showing up in our communities, and what we want to see change to make our transport systems more equitable for all! 

Find out more here:

If you are interested in participating in our collective, then sign up here for updates, or join one of our fortnightly Wednesday collective meetings!

  • Committee for Melbourne joins call for Better Buses, with new report that addresses the challenges to bus reform, and presents a pathway forward. Mark Melvin, Chief executive of the committee said that the Victorian government needs to lay out a reform plan "before signing new 10-year contracts with bus operators covering about 30 per cent of the network, which will start in mid-2025."
  • We also presented at the Green Institute 'The City Transformed' conference in Meaanjin (Brisbane), and at the CANA transport symposium. 

September 2023

  • Strategy Day in West Footscray: On September 9th we held a strategy session with locals in West Footscray to flesh out our upcoming strategy. Read More Here
  • Transport Equity Week launched with numerous events throughout the week:
  • Sydney Road Accessible Tram Stops Rally: The SATS campaign held a rally last Sunday in Brunswick where the community is demanding the government to guarantee the completion of accessible tram stops for all on Sydney Road before the construction of the Sky Rail, which will further worsen the accessibility of transport due to the Upfield line train being closed.

  • Snap Action to Duplicate the Upfield Train Line: The community is calling to duplicate the single track to the Upfield train line. There is only a single track north of Fawkner, making the train constantly infrequent, overcrowded and even cancelled.

  • No 3rd Tulla Runway social media events: We jumped on social media platforms and also emailed MPs Catherine King & Tanya Plibersek to say that we do not want them to approve the 3rd Runway at Melbourne Airport!
  • KIDICAL MASS - #Safe on Summerhill: Community shared their experience of riding on Summerhill Rd or why they don’t and how it negatively impacts access to essential local amenities.
  • Better West market stall at Footscray: Better West market stall Footscray to develop a local active transport plan.
  • Bus Ball: We held a party on a bus, dressed up and had a fun evening while demanding for better buses. Read more here..


  • Local News: Daniel Andrews resigns as Premier of Victoria after nearly nine years in office. Andrew's Deputy, Jacinta Allan, becomes the new Premier and Ben Carroll becomes Deputy Premier.

October 2023

  • Better Buses strategy session held in Werribee, inviting local supporters to come together and work on the better buses strategic direction through til 2024 
  • Mid October Better Buses new strategy announcement calling for a pilot bus reform in Wyndham using CDC Victoria's contracts

December 2023 

  • Infrastructure Victoria release their Fast, frequent, fair: how buses can better connect Melbourne report



March 2024 

  • 1000 Days since the Bus Plan action at Werribee station with local community demanding action on bus reform now. 1000 days too long, we need better buses now! 

  • Why is the West still waiting for better buses in 2024 community forum held in Williams Landing bringing community, local and state government representatives and public transport activists together to ask the important questions and make some noise ahead of the 2024-25 state budget announcement. 

April 2024 

  • Growth Area Infrastructure Contribution (GAIC) funding announcement for a new bus route for the Harpley and Cornerstone estates in Wyndham Vale, as well as a new bus route in Tarneit. Collective response here