TICKET TO RIDE
BUSES took their maiden voyage on Sunday as the new PTV timetables for the Heathcote-Bendigo route became active.
This means Heathcote passengers now have five services each weekday to travel into Bendigo, and three each day on Saturday and Sunday.
Member for northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes said she was thrilled to provide the extra services for locals.
“The community campaign was running for some time and it’s terrific to finally have the services on the road,” Ms Symes said.
“It’s one of the benefits of having a public transport minister who is familiar with the region and can work with PTV and the public to develop a timetable.
“It really is a credit to Jacinta Allan, she was really keen to work with the people of Heathcote and Axedale to have a bus service that suits them.”
The alterations to the route and timetable mean more locals can get to Bendigo easier, buses travel between Heathcote and Bendigo via McIvor Forest Drive, Strath Village Shopping Centre and La Trobe University.
Ms Symes thanked the community for their input, as she walked the streets of Heathcote and encouraged everyone to have their say.
“The community can be proud of this, and now it’s about the community utilising these services,” she said.
“But I’m also looking forward to Bendigo residents now being able to
make the trip to Heathcote to experience the food and entertainment in the area.”
Community members were there to see the Monday morning service off and said it will provide locals with more options in education and healthcare and everyday access to Bendigo.
“This increase in the frequency of bus trips will greatly improve access to health services for people residing in and around Heathcote,” Heathcote Health chief executive Dan Douglass said.
“Also, the reduction in fares will enable our most vulnerable residents to use the buses more regularly and will provide an affordable option for students attending courses in Bendigo.”
Advance Heathcote secretary Sandra Slatter said the services provide the potential for more day tourists and less stress for Heathcote commuters.
“Our new bus service is another indication of Heathcote on the move. For our community it provides an opportunity for those without transport a means to travel to Bendigo and beyond to Melbourne etc if they desire by way of public transport,” Ms Slatter said. “For myself, it will lessen the stress of driving to the many meetings I attend in Bendigo. I will certainly be taking advantage of it.”
Heathcote Community Children’s Services Association member Eugene Meegan added: “This new service provides me with the opportunity to get to Bendigo at times when I don’t have access to my car. It’s a more relaxed experience and very cost effective.’’
Community members were there to see the Monday morning Route 63 service off under the new extended Heathcote-Bendigo bus timetable.