Community consultation on Victoria’s first ever long-term strategy for regional public transport will kick off next month.
Aimed at developing a 20 to 30-year scheme, the Regional Network Development Plan will set out priorities for regional public transport services, infrastructure and investment.
Transport minister Jacinta Allan noted there has been a metropolitan rail Network Development Plan in place since 2012 but never one for regional services.
“Melbourne has had a plan for many years and it’s time to bring that forward thinking to the needs of regional Victoria,” she said.
“The Regional Network Development Plan will, for the first time, set out a plan for better public transport in regional Victoria in the short, medium and long-term.”
Allan said the lack of a strategy for public transport had held rural and regional Victoria back for too long.
“Regional public transport users and communities will be front and centre in our plan for better public transport in regional Victoria.”
The goal of the plan is to move away from ‘ad hoc’ service improvements, towards a more coordinated regional public transport network where train and bus services work together to get people where they need to go, she said.
Infrastructure upgrades, network extension and rolling stock, including next generation high capacity regional trains to cater for peak demand, will also be included in the plan.
A Regional Transport Advisory Group, with representatives from all regions, will advise the Government during the consultation process and drive engagement with local communities and councils.
Consultation will take place over the next three months.