Bus network survey: Still time to tell us what you think about Ballarat's buses

Ballarat number 25 bus stopped at Hanover Street and Wiltshire Lane Delacombe

Residents from across Ballarat have responded to a call from Ballarat Mayor Cr Des Hudson to share their stories - via a brief survey - about travelling on Ballarat’s bus network.  

Their verdict?  The bus network - which is run by Public Transport Victoria - needs to be overhauled to: provide cross-city services, more frequent buses - especially on weekends, and buses which run later in the evenings. 

The City of Ballarat’s survey seeking community input on Ballarat’s bus network can be found here: Ballarat Bus Network Review Survey 2023 

Residents’ stories 

Overall, it’s not attractive to use the system unless you really have to and don’t have any alternatives at all. I really feel for those who must use the service, younger, older, people on low incomes without a car, people with disabilities. (Lucas resident) 

Bus users point to the inefficiency, difficulty, and frustration of using the bus network and of the need for direct, cross-city routes.  

This idea of running every bus through the town centre is so antiquated. We need transport that links places together not just filter you to the centre to go back out again. (Ballarat North resident) 

My car is broken down, so I need to get my son from school in Delacombe to his swimming lesson at the aquatic centre by bus…in order to catch public transport to the aquatic centre we have to catch a bus to the hospital and then cross Sturt Street & catch a bus back out again followed by a walk. This trip takes almost 2 hours by bus for a trip that takes 15 - 20 minutes by car (Sebastopol parent)

Other residents say they would like to travel by bus to work or appointments, but it is not a viable option on the existing network. 

Irregular bus services that only go via the train station make it unfeasible for me or my partner to use the bus for travel to work or appointments (Smythes Creek resident) 

Still others say they have no access to the bus network at all. 

There is nothing in greater Brown Hill. With all of the new housing developments along Daylesford Rd and off Springs Rd there is nothing. (Brown Hill resident)  

Mayor Hudson rides the bus 

The survey feedback echoes the Mayor’s own recent experience taking buses from his Winter Valley home to an appointment in Wendouree.  

“The whole experience was a real eye opener. What would have been a 12 minute car trip took an hour and five minutes on two buses - travelling via Delacombe and the CBD - plus a 10-minute walk. After all that, I didn’t arrive in time for my appointment”, Cr Hudson said. 

 The Mayor documented his journey with a video diary which you can see here: https://www.ballarat.vic.gov.au/busnetwork 

“I’m fortunate that I do have the option of travelling by car - so many others in our community do not.  I met one mother who spends two hours each morning and afternoon - that’s four hours a day - taking her young children to and from school by bus.  She is one of many in a similar situation. 

“The strong response we’ve already had to the survey tells us the problems with the bus network are very real and are making life immeasurably more difficult for many residents.  

Public Transport Victoria 

“While the City of Ballarat does not run the buses - they’re run by Public Transport Victoria - we’re encouraging bus users (and people who might want to use the bus) to take our short survey.   

“Thank you to everyone who has shared their stories so far - the more responses we receive, the more compelling our case is and the greater the chance the Public Transport Victoria will make the review a matter of priority, “Cr Hudson said.   

Key concerns raised by residents: 

  • No cross-city services 

  • Buses don’t run late enough at night for shift workers 

  • Buses are not frequent enough 

  • All buses travel via the Ballarat train station 

  • Myki 

  • People not tapping on and off so no true idea of how many people use the service 

  • Long waits