Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Benalla bus services get a massive boost

Buses will now run from 7.15 am to 6.15 pm weekdays in a near tripling of the town service.

LIBBY PRICE July 2, 2014 3:15am

Bob Arthur and Nationals candidate for Euroa Steph Ryan celebrating the announcement of additional bus services in Benalla.

The number of bus services in Benalla is set to almost triple this month, from 22 weekly services to 60 as part of the Victorian Government’s boost to public transport across the state.

However, to accommodate the change four school bus routes will be merged into two, affecting the Upper Lurg and Upotipotpon runs.

From July 28, the town’s buses will operate from 7.15am to 6.15pm on weekdays. Six services a day will connect with the train service to and from Melbourne.

Benalla Bus Lines manager Ray Schintler said the business had been lobbying for a full-time service since the town service was brought in 10 years ago.

‘‘This is the biggest change in our business and we’re hoping if the town supports it, we might be able to incorporate a Saturday service as well,’’ he said.

‘‘We’ll have one of our buses running all day, with a second bus for the peak times of 7.15am to 9am and 3.15pm to 6.15pm.’’

Nationals candidate for Euroa Steph Ryan said the extension to the running times was particularly beneficial.

‘‘Currently the network doesn’t start until 9am and finishes at 3pm, making it difficult for people who work or study full-time to use the bus to get to and from destinations,’’ Ms Ryan said.

‘‘We are fortunate to have a bus service that is wheelchair accessible and is driven by terrific local people who understand the individual needs of different residents.’’

Labor candidate for Euroa Clare Malcolm welcomed any commitment that led to better services for the people of Benalla, but said that Labor had also consistently demonstrated its commitment to public transport services across the state.

‘‘This contrasts with the Coalition government’s expensive unwanted east-west link tunnel, which costs a lot but won’t do much for anyone in rural and regional Victoria,’’ she said.

Adjustments to pick-up and drop-off times in the school bus runs will be available from the school bus co-ordinator Malcolm Stewart at Benalla P-12 College’s Faithfull St campus.

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