TODAY is the day to have your say on Heathcote’s bus services.
Member for Euroa Steph Ryan is encouraging locals to make their voices heard and join her call for funding for more buses between Heathcote and Bendigo.
This comes after the Minister for Public Transport, Jacinta Allan, announced the start of consultation on a proposed new bus service and two bus route options being considered.
The proposed changes would see new route options and a weekend service for the Heathcote-Junortoun-Bendigo bus service. And an information session is being held today from 4-7pm at Barrack Reserve for locals to view the plans and provide feedback.
“The Minister for Public Transport’s favourite word at the moment is ‘consulting’. It’s used second only to ‘planning’,” Ms Ryan said.
“Labor says it is consulting about extra bus services, but what we need is funding.”
The proposal currently up for discussion would introduce three return bus services between Heathcote, Junortoun and Bendigo Station on Saturdays for the first time as well as five return trips each weekday.
The first option would see the bus travel to and from Heathcote and Bendigo Station via McIvor Forest Dve, Strath Village Shopping Centre and La Trobe University.
The second option would travel to and from Heathcote direct to Bendigo Station via McIvor Forest Dve and the McIvor Hwy.
“It’s been a long time coming; in the Victoria 30-year Infrastructure Strategy Heathcote was specifically mentioned as an example in need of more coach services,” Ms Ryan said.
“That was back in 2016.”
Currently Heathcote has three daily bus services from Monday to Friday and an added 9.50am service on Thursday.
Ms Ryan said extra weekday services would allow for locals to live in Heathcote and study in Bendigo, and weekend services would lead to additional tourism in the area.
“There’s a strong need for weekend services in town, it would open up a whole new array of activities in Heathcote and allow locals to head to Bendigo a lot easier,” Ms Ryan said.
“For pensioners, it negates the stress of finding parks for medical appointments and for some the need to own a car.”
Jacinta Allan was contacted for comment.
If you would like to add your voice to the push for more buses, you can email Steph Ryan [email protected] or call 57621600.