Over the past several years the State Government progressively undertook a review of bus services across metropolitan Melbourne, examining network coverage, route configuration, operating span and frequency. The reviews were conducted along council boundaries, with Maroondah’s being undertaken last year, with the final report and recommendations not being made available until this year.
Unfortunately the implementation of these recommendations, which largely consisted of more frequent and longer running services, has been mixed. The Age has reported on the implementation of these reviews:
Maroondah mayor Alex Makin said his council had staged a public meeting in January last year, and later hosted two state government workshops. Many of the recommendations made by consultants after the review had not happened.
The bus service reviews identified short, medium and long-term priorities, with a series of recommendations that aim to improve bus services. While the short and medium term priorities had identifiable timeframes, the long-term initiatives, many of which included new routes to serve areas of Maroondah without bus services, lack an implementation plan.
Furthermore some of the short-term initiatives, including proposed frequency improvements, for route 670 along Maroondah Highway, one of Maroondah’s most highly patronised services, have not yet been delivered despite the review stating that this would begin in the middle of this year.
The State Government must deliver improvements to bus services to ensure that the bus network is a competitive form of transport.