Call for better buses in the west

Photo by Ant Rozetsky.

Tara Murray

A new campaign has been launched to improve bus services in the west, while also focusing on the environment.

Better Buses for the West is calling for frequent, reliable and electric buses in Melbourne’s west, and a better bus network statewide.

Friends of the Earth Melbourne, through their sustainable cities collective, ran an online forum, called Better Buses for the West, with more than 100 people tuning in.

The group’s Laura Sykes said the improving bus services in the west was important on a number of fronts, including reducing emissions from cars.

“The west is heavily reliant on cars,” she said.

“But there’s a lot of people unable to drive and public transport is their only option. Many don’t have that access to basic services, with the lack of accessible public transport.”

Ms Sykes said the group had three key focuses in their campaign.

The group want bus services every 10 minutes and for the services connect to other public transport like trains and trams.

The group is also keen to see the introduction of electric buses in Victoria.

“You have to have a car to get somewhere in a timely manner,” Ms Sykes said.

“It’s a really important area to improve transport while also linking it with emissions. It is a social justice issue.

“We don’t want to see people limited due to not being able to access public transport.”

Brimbank, Hobsons Bay and Wyndham are the three council areas the group is focusing on most.

The campaign will build a network of local climate, transport, union, community and social sector groups to demonstrate support for bus reform that reduces emissions, creates local jobs and connects to existing and future transport infrastructure.

Ms Sykes said that conversations with the three councils have been fruitful.

“They are some of the biggest areas of growth,” she said.

“We’ve had a lot of support from the council’s community groups in those areas.”