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Tourist shuttle set to end

01 Jun 2017

Docklanders can expect to soon see the end of the City of Melbourne-funded tourist shuttle bus.

Speaking at a council budget press conference on May 4, Lord Mayor Robert Doyle hinted strongly that the contract for the bus would not be renewed when it expires later this year.

“We’ve got to look at the tourist bus,” he said. “The contract ends later this year – I think the end of August, maybe September.”

“The cost of the tourist bus is $1.4 million per year. But here’s the most telling thing, because the easiest thing to record about the tourist bus is the number of people who ride on it.”

“I don’t know whether it was the introduction of the free tram network, or whether it was the introduction of a private service, which is somewhat more comprehensive. But I can tell you that in the two years from 2014 to 2016 patronage fell.”

“In that earlier year, patronage was 330,000 passenger journeys. In the final year of that evaluation period, 2016, it was 43,000.”

“So, passenger usage is telling us something about that. And it is $1.4 million per year.”

“Having said that, one of the most popular spots for alighting is Harbour Town. And I want to continue to support Harbour Town retail as it goes through its redevelopment.”

“So, there are some big decisions for us to make, but the story of the numbers is, I think, fairly telling.”

In 2013, the Docklands Chamber of Commerce lobbied unsuccessfully to prevent the council introducing a $5 bus fare for what had previously been a free service.

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