Bus demand mounts


PRESSURE is mounting on the Minister for Transport, Jacinta Allen, to take a serious look at introducing a bus service into Hidden Valley with Mitchell Shire Council being the latest voice urging the minister into action.

In a letter to Ms Allen, obtained by the North Central Review, Mitchell Shire Mayor Rhonda Sanderson, said that while the extended services in and around Wallan were welcomed, areas such as Hidden Valley still need transport services.

“We (council) recognise the importance of creating connections within the community and public transport is a key priority,” Cr Sanderson wrote.

Cr Sanderson added that council ‘strongly supports’ the matter raised by Member for Yan Yean, in State Parliament recently.

Ms Green in an adjournment speech urged the Minister for Transport to act on the matter.

“I seek action on behalf of the residents living in the Hidden Valley estate in Wallan who need bus services. I know that Geoff Clarke from the Hidden Valley Association has written to the minister on behalf of the residents — as he has written to me — pleading for bus services for Hidden Valley,” Ms Green said.

“People living in the estate would like to be able to get a bus to the shops and to the train station. The minister is no stranger to Wallan and to Donnybrook. Last year she held a forum to listen to Wallan residents. Immediately after it, in last year’s state budget it was announced that Wallan would get new bus services.

“They have recently rolled out to a number of new estates, but I think that Public Transport Victoria just found it difficult to stretch the budget to include Hidden Valley. I know that those in Hidden Valley are really crying out for public transport.

“There are bus services that takes students to school, but there is no service for others. I urge the minister to act, and I look forward to a response from her,” Ms Green added.

Hidden Valley was established in 1999 and is presently home to some 700 families. Over the years a number of attempts have been made for a public transport service. So far those requests have fallen on deaf ears.

Liberal for Yan Yean, Meralyn Klein, said that the electorate is the biggest growth corridor in the North. Adding around 10,000 new residents to the area over the last four years.

“Bus services are key links for communities, connecting people with destinations. I fully support the introduction of bus services to and from Hidden Valley. This is a major, growing part of the district and these services are vital to this community,” Ms Klein said.

“I am committed to fighting for this bus service to be implemented, and have the PTV solve the perceived access issues in Hidden Valley, particularly as school bus services already run in this area.”

At this stage the Minister of Public Transport Jacinta Allan has not responded to the questions Ms Green raised in Parliament.

In an earlier statement published in the North Central Review on August 7, Member for Northern Victoria, Jaclyn Symes said while it would have been ‘great’ to have Hidden Valley included in the additional bus routes, advice from PTV meant for now it wasn’t feasible.