Local bus services ‘woeful’: Melbourne Airport


Hannah Hammoud

Melbourne Airport has joined in the chorus of calls urging the state government to increase local bus services and has described its current services as ‘woeful’.

The airport, which is the largest employment precinct outside the the Melbourne CBD, said an upgrade to local public bus services will better serve the needs of passengers and staff living in surrounding suburbs, particularly for Keilor, Sunbury, Taylors Lakes, and Sunshine.

Currently the airport is served by just four bus routes, one that doesn’t run on weekends, with has only one bus operating after 7.45pm or more than once an hour.

Melbourne Airport chief of ground transport Jai McDermott said the airport remained committed to a building rail line, but also needed a significant improvement to local transport connections.

“Skybus does a great job serving people coming from the city or the Mornington Peninsula, but staff and passengers from the city’s north and west are being let down by a lack of local bus services,” he said.

“We remain committed to an airport rail line with a fit-for-purpose, future-proof and cost-effective underground station, but while we work towards a link that puts passengers first, immediate action is needed to fix the airport’s woeful local bus services.”

With approximately 18,000 people working at the airport, Mr McDermott said the airport needs more PTV buses that, “start early, finish late and run every 15 minutes”.

Mr McDermott said improved bus services could help connect more people in Melbourne’s north-west with job opportunities at the airport.

“Many airport staff are shift workers, but the current lack of services mean public transport is simply not an option for people who live in our surrounding suburbs,” he said.

“Taxis are sometimes reluctant to take local passengers to nearby destinations, meaning travellers and staff living in the surrounding areas have few options but to drive.

“Improved suburban bus connections would help overcome this problem while unlocking more job opportunities for more people in Melbourne’s north and west by providing better transport options.”

In December, an Infrastructure Victoria report, ‘Fast, frequent, fair: how buses can better connect Melbourne’, detailed how reforms to Melbourne’s bus network would significantly improve access to jobs and recreation for thousands of people.

It found Melbourne’s west is a constant front-runner when it came to being unserved by the bus system,.

Speaking in response to the report at the time, a spokesperson told Star Weekly that the state government said said they were focused on reforming the bus network across the state, including improving existing routes, adding new bus routes and supporting a transition to zero-emissions buses.