THE Minister for Public Transport, Jacinta Allan, was in Ballarat last Thursday to promote a new night coach service. Ms Allan said there was a lot of improvement in public transport in regional communities.
“The night coaches have been a terrific addition to helping people get in and out of Melbourne, late at night,” she said.
“We have heard that people were looking for an extra service and more stops and that’s why we are providing a new night coach service in and out of Ballarat.
“It will leave at 1am from Southern Cross Station and stop off at Bacchus Marsh and Ballan along the way, giving people more choices about how they get in and out of the City.” Ms Allan added that this service built on the 68 additional weekday services that have been put on the Ballarat line since 2015.
“Work has also started on the upgrade to the Ballarat line – the duplication of the track, the installation of passing loops, upgrades to stations along the corridor so that we can run more frequent and more reliable services between Ballarat and Melbourne,” Ms Allan said.
“We have seen an enormous increase on our Ballarat line; it’s the second busiest line on the regional network.” It is estimated that the 59 minute trip to Melbourne would take eight years to implement.
Committee for Ballarat Chair Janet Dore welcomed the new night coach service saying it was wonderful news for Ballarat commuters but the rest of the upgrade couldn’t come soon enough.
“We understand that these things take time and planning,” she said. “I guess we have to wait 8 years for the under an hour trip because of the growth of Western Melbourne and unfortunately we are paying the price for this growth.
“I would hope that this (line upgrades) is very much a bi-partisan issue because the regional rail network needs urgent improvement and we can’t afford this clogging and congestion any longer.
We need commitments and we need them now.”