Advocating for a better Ballarat Bus Network

We’ve heard from a lot of residents that getting from A to B on the bus in Ballarat is more complicated than it should be. That's why we are asking the Victorian Government to review the Ballarat Bus Network to offer more direct cross-town services.

A bus at a Ballarat stop

Getting from Place to Place on the bus in Ballarat can be hard

Through the Ballarat bus network survey (below), we’ve heard from residents that getting across the city on a bus takes longer than it should.  

Because the Ballarat bus network is designed to connect to the Ballarat Train Station, getting to and from places other than the station can be hard.  

Sometimes it means going into the city on one bus and back out again on another.  

The bus journeys shown are from examples provided by residents through the survey – along with a journey taken by the Mayor earlier this year.  

They show the routes recommended by Public Transport Victoria’s Journey Planner App to complete the journey.  

For comparison, they also show how long the same trip takes by car on the most direct route.  

These examples demonstrate one of the main reasons why we want a review of the Ballarat bus network.

Albert Street, Miners Rest to Ballarat Clarendon College/Sturt Street, Newington

Little Bridge Street, Ballarat Central to Lilburne Street, Lucas

Magpie Street/Bradshaw Street, Golden Point to Norman Street/Learmonth Road, Wendouree

Hanover Street, Delacombe to Stockland Wendouree

Midvale Shopping Centre, Mount Clear to Delacombe Town Centre

Mayor Des Hudson's bus journey

While the City of Ballarat does not run the buses - they’re run by Public Transport Victoria - City of Ballarat Mayor, Cr Des Hudson wanted to see for himself what it’s like to catch a bus from A – B in Ballarat. 
See the full video:


What we’ve heard from residents so far

We’ve had more than 420 submissions to the Ballarat bus network survey.

So far, 429 submissions have been received from people across Ballarat. Of all responses, 78.7 per cent want more direct cross-city bus routes, 74 per cent want more frequent services and 50 per cent want faster running services.  

Almost all submitters – 97 per cent - support a review of the Ballarat bus network.  

These submissions have included many personal stories which powerfully illustrate the inadequacy of the current network and the direct impact this has on residents’ access to work, education, appointments, and social connections.

Here are some examples of what we’ve heard so far:

Alfredton resident:

I have a disability so buses are my only option for transport. To get to appointments takes so long, often I need to leave home 2 hrs before I need to be somewhere. 
Changing buses in the city wastes so much time, it can also be scary with the antisocial behaviour that goes on. 
I shouldn't have to go into the city and wait up to an hr to change buses to get somewhere that if I could drive would take 15mins. 
I live in new Alfredton, the closest bus stop is 500m from my house. If it's really hot or pouring rain, just getting to the bus is a challenge. The western part of Ballarat has not been catered for.

Wendouree resident:

Being on a disability support pension, and not having a car I rely on buses. I find I try and use services that are central so I get there by bus. If I do need to go elsewhere I need to rely on a friend or family member or taxi.

Waiting and catching a second bus to a location is often taxing for me with my pain.

I find the bridge mall bus stop a bit uncomfortable, and try not to use it, especially after school hours. I would like to see more inspectors on the bus’s.

Small interchangers could be handy to swap from one bus to another without going into the city.

Winter Valley resident:

There are no bus stops currently along Ballarat- Carngham Rd servicing the new estates such as Alluvium, Masters, Conroys Green or Ballymanus. No bus network for kids in these new estates to catch the bus to or from school. School bus network finishes on Dyson drive / Cuthberts Road

Miners Rest resident:

I would like to use the service to travel to work in (the Ballarat) CBD, but when it can take between 1-2 hours to get to work by bus, travelling on at least 2 buses (a lot of downtime waiting between buses), it’s very off putting and time consuming. Travel by car can take around 15-20 minutes.

Lucas resident:

Given the major increase (in the) size of Lucas’ population over the last couple of years, not only more frequent services are needed but also a bus route which traverses the estate (so) that residents don't have to walk far to a bus stop.

It would also allow more kids to catch the bus to the high schools in Sturt St. and hopefully reduce the growing problem of cars banked up around Eleonor Dr / Shortridge Dr/ Sturt St intersections in the morning. The same with the issues of traffic around the Arch / Ballarat High and Gillies St.

Mount Pleasant resident:

Buses run on time, which is great. But getting across town by bus is almost impossible. To get to Stockland Wendouree by bus from my house in Mt Pleasant requires two buses and about 1.5 hours travel + waiting time. 

Survey: Tell us your experience with the Ballarat Bus Network

What we’ve done so far

Responses received to date have been collated, deidentified and shared with the Minister for Public Transport Ben Carroll, Shadow Minister for Public Transport Richard Riordan, as well as the three Ballarat state MPs and five Western Victoria MPs.  

The City of Ballarat continues to advocate to the State Government, which runs the Ballarat bus network through Public Transport Victoria, for a review of the network.