Victory! Entire 703 bus route now runs on Sundays

Moon landing with bus caption: One small step for a bus, one giant leap for public transport In Melbourne, there’s a bus route: the 703 bus, which is a special route. But there was something seriously wrong with that route. The section west of Bentleigh Station, until now, did not run on Sundays.

So for the better part of a decade, I have advocated for this bus route to be improved. More recently, I have been making the case to Nick Staikos (and other members of the Andrews Government). Of course, given how big a problem this has been, other people from the area have also been keen to have this fixed, and have let this government know about it.

As a result, the Andrews Government has done something about it. From now on, this bus route will finally run in full, 7 days a week.

There’s still more to be done of course. The bus route still runs infrequently on weekends, service is still limited at night and other bus services in the area need to be improved too. Nevertheless, this is an important step forward that will make it easier to get around the local area with public transport.

It’s happening! Andrews Government finally builds Southland Station

IT'S HAPPENING! Ron Paul shakes it.

Personally I remember a time when I’d check MySpace on my Razr V6 flip phone at Cheltenham Station while waiting for the bus to Southland, having only just passed by Southland on the train a few minutes earlier. A few years later, the Baillieu Government promised to build Southland Station in that term, but it didn’t happen.

Now the station people have been waiting for since Sandstorm is finally happening, with the Andrews Government having now started major works!

What sovereign risk? East West Link companies bid for Melbourne Metro construction

Those who followed the happenings with the East West Link tollway in Victoria would remember the overblown “sovereign risk” scaremongering from the conservative side of politics. Yesterday’s announcement of the consortia bidding to build the Melbourne Metro tunnel further shows how that had turned out to not be a thing:

Premier Daniel Andrews joined Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan to announce the shortlisted bidders for the $6 billion Public Private Partnership (PPP) to build the biggest public transport project in Victorian history:

  • Continuum Victoria – comprising ACCIONA Infrastructure, Ferrovial Agroman, Honeywell, Downer EDI and Plenary Origination
  • Cross Yarra Partnership – comprising Lendlease Engineering, John Holland, Bouygues Construction and Capella Capital
  • Moving Melbourne Together – comprising Pacific Partnerships, CPB Contractors, Ghella, Salini Impregilo, Serco and Macquarie Capital

The Metro Tunnel will create 4,700 jobs and free up space in the City Loop to run more services in and out of the City on lines across the network, benefiting passengers across Melbourne.

I think it’s quite noteworthy that some of the companies bidding to build the Melbourne Metro rail tunnel were part of the East West Connect consortium, which was selected to build East West Link. It just goes to show that the reality doesn’t match the rhetoric you hear from conservatives.

The Australian asked about Hawke and Keating, so here’s Bob Hawke

Bob Hawke speaks in defence of medicare

Columnists at The Australian seem to be wondering where Hawke and Keating have gone.

In The Australian’s editorials, they’ve written:

The silence of Mr Hawke and Mr Keating as they watch all this unfold is deafening. Along with the economy, they modernised Labor. Now they see it in regression. The rhetoric would not be out of place in the 50s and promises to expand government are redolent of the 70s.

This rhetoric exposes an electoral choice that doesn’t so much pit Mr Shorten’s Labor against Mr Turnbull’s Coalition but against the economic posture of every Labor and Liberal leader since Malcolm Fraser. We again note the telling silence of Labor’s elder statesmen, Mr Hawke and Mr Keating. Can they endorse Labor’s approach?

Various columnists for the newspaper have also written many articles along these lines. They need not fear though, because Bob Hawke has stepped up and made his voice heard. He has criticised the Liberals’ moves towards privatising Medicare and endorsed Bill Shorten and Labor at this election.

Bentleigh’s buses might actually get fixed for real

Local Bus Forum with Member for Bentleigh, Nick Staikos MP. Tuesday May 17 at 6:30PM at the Bentleigh Bayside Community Health Centre. Come and have your say on local bus services and how they can be improvedNick Staikos, the Labor Member for Bentleigh, is holding a forum about the area’s buses at the Bentleigh Bayside Community Health Centre.

For years now, I’ve been saying that we need better buses in Victoria, and Australia more broadly. To that end, I’ve been advocating to Nick Staikos (and to a lesser extent, Philip Dalidakis) for better bus services in the Bentleigh area.

Many others in the area have been making that point too, and for good reason:
There are major gaps in bus services in the area, such as the lack of buses after 8pm, the lack of buses on Sunday on some routes, and sections of Nepean Highway having no public transport at all (which is ironic given that Nepean Highway is the southern continuation of St Kilda Rd – an extremely busy public transport corridor in Melbourne).

For this reason, the Victorian Government needs to invest in substantially improved bus services in the area, along with the rest of Melbourne and Victoria. After 4 years of the Baillieu-Napthine “Government” ignoring this issue, we might just finally see that from Dan Andrews and Nick Staikos.

Certainly, the fact that Mr Staikos is hosting this forum is a very good sign, as is his acknowledgement that many people would like to see the lack of buses on Sunday fixed.

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