Posted on 15. Oct, 2010 in Clayton Update

The success of Dandenong’s manufacturing industry was celebrated today with Public Transport Minister Martin Pakula welcoming the 5000th bus off the production line as Melbourne’s bus network carries more than 350,000 people every weekday.

Mr Pakula said the milestone demonstrated the success of Volgren and the strength of manufacturing in Dandenong.

“Volgren is Australia’s largest bus manufacturer, and the Brumby Labor Government is proud to support local jobs by having ordered a substantial number of buses for use in metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria from Volgren’s Dandenong Factory, which was established in 1978,” Mr Pakula said.

“Recently Volgren manufactured 35 state-of-the-art buses for use on SmartBus Route 902, and have manufactured a further 26 buses which took to the road last month as part of the new SmartBus Route 901.

“Our investment in a new modern bus fleet is helping drive patronage across the metropolitan bus network with more than 100 million passengers trips made on the system last year.

“This is 29 per cent growth in just four years and Victoria’s new bus fleet is helping to carry more passengers and is creating jobs from bus drivers to positions in our local manufacturing sector.”

Mr Pakula said the Brumby Labor Government would continue to expand the local bus network.

“We’ve recently completed a series of bus reviews which included extensive community feedback and detailed technical analysis of every bus route in Melbourne, which will help inform how we continue to improve the bus network in coming years,” he said.

“Since we began reviewing Melbourne’s bus network,  we have has introduced more than 200 bus improvements, with longer operating hours, route extensions into growth suburbs, new routes and more frequent services – providing more than 20,000 extra bus services every week.”

“With these improvements, Melbourne’s bus fleet has grown to more than 1700 buses, which travel more than 100 million kilometres a year.”

“As a result of our investment, we are seeing a huge cultural change in the way Melburnians travel.

“People are really getting on board, and customer surveys indicate that more than a third of bus passengers believe their bus services are better now than a year ago.”
Mr Pakula said that there were some stand-out success stories on Melbourne’s bus network.

“SmartBus Route 903 (Mordialloc – Altona) has been up and running for just over a year and is already the most popular bus route in Melbourne, carrying more than 17,000 bus passengers each weekday,” he said.

“The Route 401 shuttle bus which travels between North Melbourne Station and the Parkville university and medical precinct continues to grow in popularity, and now frees up around 2000 spots on city-bound trains and outbound city trams during the morning peak.

“And right around Melbourne, Sunday bus travel is a huge success story. Back in 2006, only around 30,000 bus trips were made on an average Sunday; that figure has now more than doubled, with around 79,000 bus trips every Sunday.”

Mr Pakula said that Melburnians could look forward to more bus improvements in the future.

“I’m pleased to be able to announce today that residents in Casey and Cardinia will benefit from six new routes and improvements to ten existing routes, starting on Monday 13 December,” he said.

“This is great news for residents of Cranbourne, Narre Warren, Berwick, Hampton Park and Pakenham, many of whom will soon have access to public transport for the first time.”

Mr Pakula said that buses were becoming an increasingly popular mode of transport, particularly for people living in the outer suburbs.

“As we continue to provide more bus services, more often, I hope the bus will become an even more popular option for local residents,” he said.

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