MP calls for extra bus for peninsula

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MORNINGTON MP David Morris has called on Public Transport Minister Melissa Horne to add an extra bus service from Frankston to the Mornington Peninsula.

“There is an urgent need for an additional bus service from Frankston station to cater for the large number of students being left behind during the morning rush,” Mr Morris said.

The issue came into focus last week when the mayor Cr David Gill admitted: “Our advocacy efforts and those of the community have not resulted in any significant upgrades to bus services on the peninsula.” (“Bus services get an F (for fail)” The News 8/5/19).

“For $20 million a year we could fix the bus services on the peninsula. It’s a public service that’s not being provided.

“We have got to increase the number of buses and their frequencies so that people know they can rely on them.

“People – potential bus users – are not going to give up their cars for a bus service that comes every four hours.”

Mr Morris said Ventura Bus Lines had told him it could run an extra morning service – but that the state government “refuses to approve it”. This new service would also service residents in the electorate of Nepean, he said.

“Nepean MP Chris Brayne needs to show his constituents that his words will be followed with action,” Mr Morris said. “If the member for Nepean believes bus services from Frankston are ‘unreliable’ as he has previously stated, then he should be standing up for his community and urging the minister to take immediate action.”

Mr Morris said Ms Horne said his call had been “noted”, which he interpreted as meaning no action was being considered.

“The minister has indicated that she, and [the Premier] Daniel Andrews, are not interested in providing the essential services that students on the peninsula require,” he said.

“This is a disgrace and shows that Labor can’t be trusted to run our crucial services.”

Mr Brayne said the peninsula’s public transport users – particularly students – can “thank people like David Morris who have been decades-long representatives on the peninsula and have only just realised the bus network is an important issue for residents”.

“We can also thank [Flinders MP] Greg Hunt, another Liberal member for decades, who saw a bus network cut on the peninsula that was transporting young adults to and from Monash University.

“The Andrews Labor government saved this service. No one knows better than me how critical a good bus network is because I’ve been catching the buses on the peninsula for 10 years of my life, up until I was 21 and got my licence.

“I would ask David Morris to work with me rather than criticise me to achieve a good outcome for residents who rely on public transport.”

Last October then mayor Cr Bryan Payne said the peninsula had the second lowest provision of public transport per person in metropolitan Melbourne, and that two out of three of the peninsula’s major activity centres were not serviced by train and had to rely on buses – making it the “only metropolitan municipality in the state in this situation”.

First published in the Southern Peninsula News – 14 May 2019

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