A COMPLETE review of Ballarat flagging bus network is needed with decisive action a matter of urgency, says the City of Ballarat.
The council has called for an immediate review of the system and is working closely with the Department of Transport to provide a stronger system which encourages more people onto the network.
The call comes as council launches its Interrelated Transport Plan, a five-step document for the long term future of transport in the city.
City of Ballarat executive manager economic partnershps James Guy said Ballarat needed a fully integrated transport network.
"We're working closely with the Department of Transport to advocate for a complete review of the current bus network and to urgently seek changes to provide more direct cross city routes which the community is clearly requesting," Mr Guy said.
In October last year, the Public Transport Users Association released a 34-page proposal which included cross-town bus routes which would provide a similar service to Melbourne's tram network.
The PTUA suggested three SmartBus routes running to higher frequencies and more hours, which would be particularly important going forward as trains would be changed to every 40 minutes.
In the proposal, PTUA Ballarat convenor Ben Lever said the suggested changes targeted the network's shortfalls.
"That's going to break the connectivity that they've got now with buses that go every 30 or 60 minutes," he said.
Mr Lever said there is a need to increase the frequency for the buses to link up with those trains.
"There are also people who want to get to shops instead of the station, but the new network is very much geared towards getting people to the station," he said.
Earlier this month, the City of Ballarat released the Train Network Discussion Paper and Ballarat Transport Overview for community consultation.
These documents are the first of a series of five discussion papers for different modes of transport to be released over the coming months.
Each discussion paper explores the opportunities and challenges of each mode of transport across Ballarat's current network, including the train network, the walking and pedestrian network, public transport network, roads, streetscapes and emerging vehicle technology and aviation
We're working closely with the Department of Transport to advocate for a complete review of the current bus network and to urgently seek changes to provide more direct cross city routes which the community is clearly requestingJames Guy
"We're now asking the community to help us set a direction for the Ballarat Integrated Transport Plan by helping to identify transport priorities," Mr Guy said. "As we undertake long term planning for future growth areas, integrated transport and land use planning will be a fundamental feature to again maintain Ballarat's unique point of difference."
The plan has been released for public consultation with the goal to have the final document ready early next year.
"Ballarat needs a fully integrated transport network. All these options can potentially play an important future role," he said.
"We would like to see a review of the current bus network, infrastructure investment in our core road priorities including the Western Link Road, investigation into park and ride options and we remain committed to partnering with the State Government to increase Ballarat's share of infrastructure and service investment."
The transport papers come less than a week after former Premier Steve Bracks called on the council to outline its future investment plans.
"The current government will look at what sort of extra stations are here," he said. "The City of Ballarat probably should start with its general planning about where they would like things and where things should be."
Mr Bracks did however cast some doubt on hopes for a Warrenheip station, which council hopes could form part of a return of Geelong trains and has been envisaged as a future park-and-ride station.
"I am not sure if Warrenheip would be the right [new station]," he said. "I think most of the significant growth is happening west of here."
"That's a matter for the government," he added. "Those things should be discussed."
To read the discussion papers and to have your say visit: mysay.ballarat.vic.gov.au
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