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.
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!
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.
Nick 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.