HEATHCOTE will have a weekend bus service to Bendigo for the first time from the end of September – and the full fare will be halved.
Member for Bendigo East and Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan made the announcement on Friday for three return services on both Saturday and Sunday.
The route will take in new parts of Junortoun, heading along McIvor Forest Drive to Strath Village Shopping Centre and La Trobe University. There will be stops in Axedale and other small communities.
Five daily return services will be included from Heathcote to Bendigo.
Junortoun Community Action Group secretary Kevin de Vries said it would make the communities less reliant on cars.
“It’s going to mean options for young people to get to sport, to get to education facilities, options for older people to get to shops and to get to services,” he said.
Related: New bus route proposed for Heathcote
“Junortoun is definitely growing, but not just Junortoun, the whole of the McIvor Highway corridor so all the way out to Axedale and Longlea and clearly out to Heathcote.
“There’s many many houses being built here, it’s a great place to live, the Junortoun Community Action Group is really supporting the growth in services and infrastructure out here
Ms Allan said the timetable would be determined from public consultation sessions – a process that has been occurring with communities throughout 2018.
She said Heathcote had been able to demonstrate demand for the service.
“There’s no doubt there’s demand for this service,” Ms Allan said.
“What we’ve done along the way is consult really closely with the local community and there was some consultation recently that was held in Junortoun and Heathcote.
“As we’re putting in these new bus services, we want to make sure we get the stopping patterns right and we want to get the timings right as well.”
The funding came from a $22 million commitment for bus services across regional Victoria.
Half-hourly services will be added from Bendigo Railway Station to the Bendigo Hospital – an extension of the Route 63 bus.