Big changes to travel over several decades

CHANGES to Bendigo’s transport network will happen over several years rather in one major leap, according to City of Greater Bendigo planning and development director Prue Mansfield.

The council is developing a transport strategy aimed at addressing current and future issues with cars and public transport.

I suspect there will be a myriad of small changes, not one big change. - Prue Mansfield

 Ms Mansfield said more than 1000 people had had an input into the strategy.

“What the community has clearly told us is they don’t want any more congestion,” she said.

“No-one likes congestion and they want more choices for transport.

“How we can actually achieve that depends on how big the changes are.

“I suspect there will be a myriad of small changes, not one big change.

“What everyone acknowledges is this is a 30-year change for the community.

“It’s not going to happen in one or two years, it’s going to be a change over 30 years.”

About 50 people discussed the Integrated Transport Land Use Strategy at a public meeting on Tuesday.

Fifteen-year-old Caleb Ellis raised the idea of extending bus services to cover more routes more frequently.

“I also spoke about running a peak service which Bendigo doesn’t have,” he said.

“I mentioned upgrading facilities and making them cleaner, which would make people more likely to catch public transport.

“I also spoke about a free city loop shuttle bus which would go around key points of the CBD.”

The Girton Grammar student said he caught the bus to school as often as possible but said timetabling gave him limited options.

“Something needs to change if the people of Bendigo don’t want to rely on a car-based transport system,” he said.

“Pointing out one key change is hard, but short term, I think the main key change would be to see improving the frequency of buses.

“They don’t come often enough.

“People won’t want to catch a bus if they have to schedule their day around the bus.”

Ms Mansfield said community engagement had been completed with a range of options and scenarios to be released around March next year.

Councillor Peter Cox said adding stops on the train line in Epsom and Eaglehawk would be significant.

“We’ve got to cater for the motor car, public transport, walking and cycling,” he said.

“It needs to be much more about balance. It’s pie in the sky to believe everyone won’t be driving cars in 50 years."

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