Saturday, 9 July 2016

Public Transport Users Association - Ballarat Branch

Those of you who've been reading this blog for a long time will know that I'm from the Ballarat region, and I often discuss the issues with public transport in and around Ballarat. (Well, I say "often" - obviously I've been quite slack with my blogging lately). However the sad fact is that none of my ramblings have really gone anywhere. Our bus network is still inadequate. The train to Melbourne is still infrequent and unreliable. The train to Geelong is still nonexistent.

There have certainly been a lot of improvements to public transport announced since the last election, and a lot of those have been absolutely fantastic for Ballarat and its surrounds. Duplication Deer Park to Melton, with further crossing loops and platforms further down the line. Extra peak services, and eventually a 40-minute off-peak service, to Melbourne. An extra daily service to Maryborough. All really good stuff - but the fact remains that there is still a long way to go, and Ballarat will need a voice to ensure we get what we need.

The Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) has been advocating for better public transport for the last 40 years. They have commented on regional issues, particularly through their Geelong branch, but they haven't historically been able to focus as much on Ballarat and places further west.

However, that's about to change. For the last few months, I've been in discussions with them to form a Ballarat branch, and as you may have seen in the Courier, it's finally happened - the Ballarat Branch of the PTUA was officially launched a few weeks ago. The Ballarat Branch will fight for better public transport for all of western Victoria - whether it's intra-town buses, or V/Line trains and coaches, they really all need improving and we want to make sure it happens.

The territories of the PTUA's regional branches (derivative work of this)
The Branch's territory is pretty extensive - the map above shows which municipalities we cover. Basically it's most of western Victoria, with a few municipalities in the south shared with the Geelong branch. So it's not just about Ballarat - it's also Bacchus Marsh, Ballan, Maryborough, Ararat, Horsham, Hamilton and Portland. The PTUA is very member-driven, so if you live in the area and have something that's important to you, I would encourage you to come along and make your voice heard. Each of us has different needs, and rides different bus routes, different trains at different times of day - so if we want to really make sure that our public transport works for us, we'll need to hear from everyone.

That said, obviously I have my own projects I'm particularly keen to fight for. My own priorities are:
- full duplication of the Melbourne-Ballarat railway line
- dramatic improvements to Ballarat's bus network
- the return of trains between Geelong and Ballarat
- three trains per direction per day on the Maryborough line

I have advocated for a number of projects on this blog, and I'm sure I'll keep doing so. But it should go without saying that the views expressed on this blog are mine, and do not necessarily reflect the policies of the PTUA unless explicitly stated.

Anyway. We had the inaugural meeting of the Ballarat branch on June 21, and the aim is to have meetings about once a month (to begin with). If you're wanting more information on the branch and its activities head to and if you want to be kept in the loop about future meetings, shoot me an email at

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