LOCAL residents will soon benefit from cheaper fares and new services to and from Bendigo and Heathcote, thanks to the changes made by the state government.
Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes recently announced the new seven day-a-week service will begin in September, giving locals better public transport options.
The new program will deliver Heathcote passengers with five services across the weekday to travel into Bendigo, and three each day on Saturday and Sunday.
Following community consultation earlier this year with Ms Symes and PTV, buses will travel between Heathcote and Bendigo via McIvor Forest Drive, Strath Village Shopping Centre and La Trobe University.
“Locals have wanted more choice when travelling on weekdays and weekends, so Labor is making it happen,” Ms Symes said.
“Cheaper fares mean all passengers can now spend less on travelling and more on whatever they want.
“At the community consultation sessions, residents told me they wanted the timetables adjusted so it made it easier for them to get to work in Bendigo and to access medical and education training services and Labor is delivering on that.
‘‘Bendigo residents can now travel to Heathcote to enjoy local eateries and wineries.”
From September, the existing Route 63 from La Trobe University to Bendigo Station will be extended to Bendigo Hospital, providing a service every half hour on weekdays between the station and hospital.
Member for Euroa Steph Ryan has also been vocal in her support for improved bus services in Heathcote.
“I am delighted that our campaign for increased services has paid off,’’ she said.
‘‘The wheels turned very slowly for a number of years, but after bringing some pressure to bear on the government we finally have a commitment to additional services.
“A lot of credit is due to people like Dan Douglas who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make it happen.
‘‘This will give the community greater access to Bendigo’s health services, education and employment opportunities. “Services will be increased to five return buses every weekday, as well as the introduction of three weekend buses.”
A full fare return trip from Heathcote to Bendigo will be halved from $20.60 to $10.80, while concession fares will drop from $10.30 to $5.40 return.
Travel information will be available one month before the new services begin at ptv.vic.gov.au.