14.09.2023The Committee’s submission on the Zero Emission Bus Transition consultation paper
In response to the Victorian Government’s consultation on Zero Emissions Buses earlier this month, the Committee submitted that transitioning the fleet to ZEBs should form part of a comprehensive reform package to achieve a meaningful reduction in Victoria’s transport emissions. Course correction makes many recommendations towards increasing patronage on buses, including to develop a compelling public narrative, deliver 10-minute services on key routes, have a plan for reforming bus routes and committing to investment in bus reform.
Our Benchmarking Melbourne 2023 report provides data-based insights into various aspects of Melbourne’s liveability, connectivity and the economy. This report revealed a ‘tale of two cities,’ highlighting the high-performing city centre’s superior public transport compared to the wider metropolis. These insights prompted our recent work on metropolitan bus reform, with the release of our Course Correction – Reforming Melbourne’s buses report. Course Correction outlines that Melbourne needs a network of direct, efficient, reliable and eco-friendly bus services to address the intertwined challenges of liveability, equity and sustainability. The report provides a vision for a reformed bus network and makes six key recommendations as part of a package of comprehensive reforms.
Those key recommendations are to:
1. Develop a compelling public narrative;
2. Deliver 10-minute services on key routes;
3. Have a reform plan prior to recontracting;
4. Embed incentives into bus contracts;
5. Re-invest any savings into the bus network; and
6. Create coalitions of support. The report demonstrates that comprehensive bus reform aimed at encouraging more Victorians to travel by bus will yield substantial benefits, including:
- Taking 100 million private vehicle trips annually off Melbourne’s road network by 2030.
- Saving up to 870,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2030 with bus fleet electrification and mode share between 1.6% and 4%.
Whilst Course Correction does not focus specifically on how to transition the bus fleet to ZEBs, it does demonstrate that transitioning the fleet should form part of a comprehensive reform package to take cars off the road and increase bus mode share, to achieve a meaningful reduction in Victoria’s transport emissions. The consultation paper recognises that “the transition of approximately 4,500 diesel buses to ZEBs from 2025 will contribute to the Victorian Government’s goal to achieve net zero emissions by 2045.” The Committee supports the transition of the fleet to ZEBs and submits its Course Correction report to underline the concurrent package of measures that will be needed to achieve meaningful emissions reductions. In addition, the Committee would like to specifically address three criteria listed in chapter five of the consultation paper.