More bus services to Fishermans Bend a “gamechanger”

More bus services to Fishermans Bend a “gamechanger”
Brendan Rees

Two major bus routes linking the CBD and Fishermans Bend are set to double their weekday services, the state government has announced.

An additional 900 services for routes 235 and 237 will run from October 30, targeting a turn-up-and-go 10-minute frequency.

In a big win for the community, weekday services will depart about every five minutes from Southern Cross Station.

Bus stops will also be improved on Salmon St to complement the first stage of redevelopment at the General Motors Holden site (GMH) and the opening of the University of Melbourne’s new engineering and design campus.

The new services will support development within the precinct, which is Australia’s largest urban renewal project spanning more than 480 hectares.

Minister for Public Transport Ben Carroll said the additional services, which were part of Victoria’s Bus Plan in providing a modern, productive, environmentally sustainable bus network, was critical.

“We’re delivering better transport services to Fishermans Bend, while also investing in the longer-term planning and development work to ensure we deliver the transport network this precinct will need in the generations to come,” he said.

“Equally too … this is also going to have a zero emissions bus among the fleet, and we know young people, students, they’re very conscientious of climate change and want to travel on clean, green public transport.”

Mr Carroll said given there was a “need to identify a gap between Southern Cross and Fishermans Bend” as well as cater for the growing student and residential population, the new bus services would “fulfil that really well”.

He said his team was also working with the Member for Southern Metropolitan Region Nina Taylor “to see what the locals needed and how it tailored the solutions that really supported them, not only for public transport but also road safety”.

 

“We know coming out of COVID more and more people are walking around and using active transport … and we’re constantly on the lookout for improvements.”

 

Ms Taylor said the doubling of services was a “game changer” and would incentivise more people to travel by bus rather than “road clogging alternatives”.

“Fishermans Bend is going through a significant growth era and buses are becoming critical to accessing the area more than ever before – these additional services will go a long way to improving passenger journeys,” she said.

The Beacon Cove Neighbourhood Association (BCNA) welcomed the announcement to increase bus services to Fishermans Bend but urged “greater government proactivity to establish new transport services that reduce pressure on existing roads” to meet the precinct’s growing population and development.

“The BCNA notes that the proposed bus services simply increase the frequency of existing services on two existing lines. No new services are announced,” the BCNA said in a statement.

“The result will mean more buses on existing roads, rather than a new transport service that reduces pressure on roads. The BCNA strongly encourages planning for alternative services, such as tram and train, to reduce congestion on busy roads before significant further residential growth occurs.”

In May 2021 the state government announced it would spend $179.4 million over three years to kick-start the Fishermans Bend Innovation Precinct, formerly known as the GMH site.

It is touted to create a “world class”, investment-ready, advanced manufacturing, engineering, and design precinct.•

 

Caption: Minister for Public Transport Ben Carroll and Member for Southern Metropolitan Region Nina Taylor were delighted to announce more bus services linking the CBD to Fishermans Bend.

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