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When Will Wyndham’s New Bus Routes Finally Arrive?

Tarneit Bus 170

Despite significant funding, Wyndham's outer suburbs continue to wait for improved bus services. Why is the Victorian government so slow to deliver?

The Victorian government is investing $180 million to enhance bus services in Melbourne’s outer suburbs as part of the Victorian Budget 2024/25 and the Growth Areas Infrastructure Contribution (GAIC) fund. These new and extended services will benefit communities in the north, west, and southeastern suburbs, improving access to public transportation and connecting residents to key destinations.

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Minister for Public and Active Transport Gabrielle Williams announced over ten new or improved bus services, including extensions to existing routes and a new service connecting residents in the Harpley and Cornerstone Estates in Werribee, to the Wyndham Vale station. In the southeast, GAIC funding will extend Route 831 on Bells Road and Route 798 to Clyde North via Hardys Road, while Cardinia will see new and extended services on routes 925 and 928. In Hume, Route 543 will be extended to Craigieburn Central via Greenvale North.

Better Buses in Wyndham

Residents in Tarneit will benefit from a new service linking Tarneit Station and Laverton North, while a new Route 524 will connect Olivine and Kalkallo with Donnybrook Station and the future Cloverton Town Centre. These additions follow the Route 501 express shuttle service introduced earlier this year, linking Craigieburn and Donnybrook Stations.

The GAIC fund, introduced in 2010, is a one-off contribution paid by landowners and developers for essential infrastructure development in growth areas like Cardinia, Casey, Hume, Melton, Mitchell, Whittlesea, and Wyndham. Besides bus service improvements, nearly $22 million will be allocated to Casey, Hume, Melton, and Whittlesea for constructing and improving walking and cycling paths, as well as better connections to stations and bus services. Another $7 million from the GAIC fund will upgrade Sunbury, Roxburgh Park, and Williams Landing stations.

Minister Williams stated that these service improvements are part of Victoria’s Bus Plan, aiming to make bus travel easier and more convenient. Member for Pakenham Emma Vulin noted that these investments would provide communities with more transport options and better connectivity to key destinations.

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However, the government’s prolonged implementation of these new routes raises questions. Despite the substantial investment, why does it take so long for these projects to materialize? For instance, the Melbourne Airport Rail Link, initially proposed in 2018, has faced numerous delays and is now not expected to be completed until 2029. Similarly, the North East Link project, set to be the largest road project in Victoria’s history, has been in planning since 2008, with completion pushed back to 2028. These delays often leave residents without much-needed infrastructure for extended periods, impacting daily commutes and overall connectivity.

Considering these past timeframes, it is reasonable to predict that the new bus routes for Wyndham might face similar delays. If we use previous project timelines as a benchmark, it could take several years before residents see the actual implementation of these new services. Bureaucratic hurdles, extensive planning requirements, and funding allocations are significant contributors to these delays. Lengthy approval processes and coordination issues between various governmental departments and private contractors often result in substantial time overruns.

Given these challenges, it is crucial for the government to streamline processes and enhance efficiency to ensure the timely delivery of vital infrastructure projects. Only then can the promised improvements in public transport and other essential services truly benefit the communities they are intended to serve.

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