Infrastructure Victoria proposes 'Uber buses' to fix Melbourne's transport problems

Infrastructure Victoria has released an opinion piece exploring the potential of 'Uber buses' to provide a solution to Melbourne's public transport problems.

The opinion piece, written by Michel Masson, CEO of Infrastructure Victoria, calls for an overhaul of Melbourne's bus network, and the replacement of underused services with demand responsive services.

“Unlike a typical bus, demand-responsive services change routes and vehicles to suit the number of passengers who want to travel and their destinations. Think Uber for buses. As patronage grows, demand responsive bus services can be scaled up to cater for increased travel demand until it becomes necessary to upgrade to a standard bus services.

“The potential of demand-responsive buses highlights one of the great advantages buses have over other transport modes – flexibility. Buses can operate on almost any part of the road network, meaning routes can quickly be altered in response to a disruption. Services can be increased or decreased quickly depending on shifts in technology, policy and behaviour, and don’t require expensive infrastructure investments. This is not the case with train or tram services.

“That’s not to say investment is not required, it is. Indeed, we want government to increase investment in bus services in areas where there is proven demand and contracts deliver value for money services. But even a major investment in buses requires significantly less funding than train or tram initiatives. Buses provide enormous bang for buck.

“While rolling out more buses is the answer in highly populated areas, demand responsive services should be introduced in less populated areas. This would give people in these locations a quality service at a much lower cost to taxpayers than a traditional bus.

“Upgrading buses not only benefits individuals by giving them a quality public transport offering, but also improves the performance of the transport network overall, benefiting everyone who uses it. If we are serious about tackling congestion in Melbourne, it’s time to bring the entire bus network into the 21st century.”

The full article is available here.

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