The State Government is currently reviewing bus services across Maroondah, Knox and the Shire of Yarra Ranges and has called for submissions into the bus network within these municipalities.
The initial deadline for submissions was Friday the 27th of February but this has now been extended until Friday the 3rd of April, since several workshops within the Yarra Ranges have needed to be rescheduled due to the bushfires.
I have completed a submission in regard to bus services within Maroondah, focusing on the need to rectify gaps in coverage, as well as increased frequencies and operating spans.
The City of Maroondah, with a residential population of approximately 100,000 residents, is located in Melbourne’s outer east, 25 kilometres east of the Melbourne CBD.
The City of Maroondah includes the activity centres of Ringwood and Croydon, with Ringwood identified as a Transit City and Central Activity District. State Government planning and transport policies have acknowledged the need for public transport to underpin the designated Central Activity Districts.
Accessibility is of critical importance within Maroondah, since the municipality has one of the highest proportions of people with a disability. As such infrastructure, in the form of bus stops and vehicles need to be accessible so that they can be used by people with a range of mobility aids and disabilities.
Likewise service levels need to be of a standard that does not restrict the mobility of people that are reliant on public transport services and takes into account the urban revitalisation that is being encouraged within Ringwood and Croydon.
Specially, the submission calls for a new bus route along Canterbury Road from Ringwood to Box Hill, and a new route along Mount Dandenong Road providing a direct connection between Ringwood, the Karralyka Centre, Maroondah Hospital and the associated medical precinct.
In addition there is a need for localised services through Warranwood, where houses reside beyond reasonable walking distance to bus services.
The success of the Ringwood to Frankston SmartBus, where patronage has increased by up to 80% due to increased frequencies and service spans, demonstrates that public transport will be utilised if services are direct, frequent, readily available and accessible.
Bus services that travel along Maroondah’s main roads, should have a level of service comparable to the SmartBus network to deliver a comprehensive public transport system within Maroondah.
Lastly there is need for comprehensive bus route reform to ensure that Maroondah’s main thoroughfares are serviced by frequent public transport routes. Localised services could operate in residential areas and connect to these main routes. Such reform will provide efficiency savings on the bus network and will also lessen confusion over bus routes and minimise travel times.