Community rejoices over hard-fought bus service increase
The Parkville Gardens community is celebrating after its campaign to increase bus services to its neighbourhood was finally a success.
For years, residents have felt short-changed with the lack of public transport servicing the booming residential area.
But in a long-awaited announcement, the state government said it would provide additional weekday services along the 505 bus route, connecting Moonee Ponds to the University of Melbourne via Parkville Gardens.
More than 10 new services in total will be added, including increased services at peak hours – both in the morning and evening, as well as in between peak periods.
This is set to make a huge difference for people accessing a wide range of retail and medical services, as well as the University of Melbourne and University High School.
The Melbourne Zoo, Royal Park and Princes Park are also connected to the 505 bus route, which was initially introduced to provide public transport access to the former 2006 Commonwealth Games Athletes’ Village, now known as Parkville Gardens.
Since then, demand has grown as the Parkville Gardens residential development has continued to expand.
“Public transport across the inner city is an essential service, whether it is getting students to school or university, or ensuring residents get to their work or appointments – this investment in additional services is so important,” the Minister for Public Transport Ben Carroll said.
The state government said timetable information for the 505 bus route was still being finalised, with the upgraded services set to begin in early 2023 and then be reviewed after 12 months.
Parkville Gardens Residents’ Association (PGRA) president Tom Knowles said the announcement was a great outcome for the community.
“The association has long been keen to improve on the inadequate once-an-hour service. The 505 bus is the only public transport that’s readily accessible for the 2000 and more residents of Parkville Gardens,” he said.
“We look forward to the inauguration of the improved service – it’s a step in the right direction.”
It comes as local Greens MPs have long advocated on behalf of the growing community to increase the bus services with Brunswick MP Dr Tim Read launching a community petition last year, which resulted in the state government committing to funding in the 2021-22 state budget for improved services.
But when more than a year had passed and “nothing had happened”, residents were left frustrated, prompting the Greens’ leader and Member for the Northern Metropolitan Region Samantha Ratnam to address parliament in May to seek answers.
Mr Carroll, who took the question on notice, announced in September that the government was “finalising details” for additional bus services to Parkville Gardens.
Victorian Member for Melbourne Ellen Sandell, whose seat will cover Parkville Gardens when it is transferred from Dr Read’s electorate ahead of the state election in November, said she was delighted the state government had listened to the community’s needs.
“We were able to get a commitment to more 505 bus services in the state budget, and I’m pleased that the government is finally delivering them,” she said.
Meanwhile, Mr Knowles said the additional bus services would create an opportunity “to look closer” at the public transport needs of the Parkville Gardens community.
“There is no service, for example, that connects the neighbourhood with the Flemington Rd trams or with local schools,” he said.
“With a new 151-unit apartment tower due to be completed and occupied next year, it’s time for a thorough review of residents’ public transport needs.”
“Is the current 505 route the most useful? Does it need to be revised or supplemented? These are questions we need to pursue in the new year, once we see what difference the improved 505 service will make.” •
Caption: Minister for Public Transport Ben Carroll, Member for Northern Metropolitan Sheena Watt and Labor candidate for Brunswick Mike Williams.