Labor leader Daniel Andrews proposes late-night Melbourne-Ballarat bus service

A POTENTIAL late-night bus service from Melbourne to Ballarat won’t be hit by any “significant” fare increase, according to Labor leader Daniel Andrews.

Mr Andrews was in Ballarat yesterday promoting Labor’s proposed Homesafe Shuttle service, which would introduce a new 2am bus from Southern Cross Station to Ballarat. 

Labor has promised its 12-month $50 million trial service to introduce late-night public transport across the state will be in place by New Year’s Eve 2015, should it win the state election this November.

When asked why it would take so long to introduce the new shuttle bus, Mr Andrews said it was important to get the service right through consultation with V/Line, Public Transport Victoria and Victoria Police.

Those consultations would also inform the decision on which stops are to be served by the bus service, he added.

Mr Andrews said ticket prices for the 2am bus would remain similar to the current cost.

“I’m not going to have a fare structure that prices people out of it, so we’re not going to be looking at any significant increase,” he said.

“I want regional Victorians to use these services and they will be priced to promote use.”

In regards to safety for staff and passengers, Mr Andrews said there would be extra funding

for Protective Service Officers which currently patrol metropolitan stations. 

He also said an enthusiastic uptake of the trial may see it extended to a train service.

“If there is sufficient demand then I will always be looking to enhance these services and make them better but you have to start somewhere,” he said.

Mr Andrews said there was strong community support for the service, which was good for workers as well as people heading out in Melbourne.

“Having people stranded or running to the last train or the last bus service, that’s not a modern city and a modern state,” he said.

Western Victoria Liberal MP Simon Ramsay said the project, which also involves all night public transport in Melbourne, was destined to go over budget.

“Victorians should be concerned that Labor is blowing important transport dollars on ideas that take important funding away from improving the basics, like maintenance,” he said.

Mr Andrews said the regional aspect of the Homesafe proposal was a “modest cost”.

“We think $50 million will cover it, we think there are some savings that can be made to cover it,” he said.

State Labor leader Daniel Andrews with opposition public transport spokesman Jill Hennessy and Ballarat West MP Sharon Knight.

State Labor leader Daniel Andrews with opposition public transport spokesman Jill Hennessy and Ballarat West MP Sharon Knight.