Have your say…or has it already been said?
01 April 2022
Proposed changes to the Yarra Valley bus service has community members concerned that it will cause more harm than good for commuters.
State Liberal Member for Eildon, Cindy McLeish said the proposed plan to alter bus routes in Healesville and Route 684 that runs from the city via Healesville to Eildon will have a large impact on the surrounding communities.
“I don’t think the city centric Andrews Labor Government realises how critical these routes are to a community that does not have a trainline or alternative public transport. This is it.”
Under the proposed changes, routes in Healesville will be consolidated or removed, and the Eildon to city route will be cut short. All future services from Eildon will finish at Chirnside Park Shopping Centre via Lilydale Station.
Ms McLeish continues, “This is a major shakeup for the community. No longer can people catch a bus from Healesville directly to Eastland, St Vincent’s hospital and Southern Cross Station. This means the trip into the city is all the more difficult with people expected to change to a train at Lilydale.”
“Many elderly people, families, non-drivers and those with a disability and mental illness catch the coach for comfort, safety and practicality.”
“Locals have told me they are nervous of using trains because of aggressive passenger behaviour and limited safety monitoring.”
The bus line is regularly used by elderly people travelling into the city for medical appointments, people travelling to and from work, tourists carrying luggage and people going to the airport.
Regular Healesville bus commuter, Naomi Simpson Wynd said, “My concern is that this will be taking away independence of the aged, physically compromised and people with mental health issues.”
“It’s a very valuable service that I use regularly to get to the airport, visit my family on Bellarine Peninsula and travel to the city, to Chirnside Park and shopping at Eastland.”
“It’ll be a sad day if this bus is cancelled. It has been running for 95 years. Why disadvantage people in regional areas?”
Furthermore, the community are up in arms about the lack of consultation process from the State Government and the faltering ‘Have Your Say’ website.
The Public Transport Victoria community Information Sessions took place on 31 March and 5 April in Healesville with Transport Planners. The Black Spur was closed until 1 April, adding another hurdle to overcome for those travelling from Eildon for the session.
According to Public Transport of Victoria’s website, the community consultation portal will be closed on Friday 8 April 2022.
Ms McLeish said, “Community members have told me how inconsiderate and inconvenient they think this is. Not everyone has online access. People deserve to have their say and ask questions in person.”
“This has simply not given the community enough time to provide feedback or even be aware of the proposed changes. The department needs to take local concerns onboard and listen to their insider knowledge. These are the people the changes will be impacting the most,” Ms McLeish concludes.
It is expected additional services will run in Healesville.
Public Transport Victoria Have Your Say website: ptv.vic.gov.au/yarravalley