Buses are a vital part of Victoria’s integrated transport system, with around 400 regular bus routes servicing metropolitan Melbourne, and local bus networks operating in more than 50 regional towns and cities.

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Victoria’s Bus Network Reform

The Department of Transport and Planning is planning a new style of bus network that is higher frequency and more connected to give more freedom and choice for where you want to go. In some places, unscrambling bus routes to make them more direct also means journeys will be faster, more frequent and more reliable.

To deliver bus network reform, the Department of Transport and Planning plans to pilot this new style of bus network by testing and providing new and innovative ways of delivering bus services. To do this we need to ensure we’re designing and delivering in a way that listens to local experiences and industry knowledge.

We’ve identified priority pilot areas across the state to learn more about how our communities want to use their bus network and priorities for change.

For more information on bus network reform please visit https://engage.vic.gov.au/busreform

400+ metropolitan routes, 30+ night routes, 50+ regional town networks, 125 regional intertown routes, 7000+ regional stops, 19000+ metropolitan stops, 4000+ buses, 33 metro depots, 135m+ metropolitan passengers annually, 21% of metro PT patronage, 15m regional trips per year, 5200km+ network across Victoria, 80% of urban Victorian population is within 400m of a bus stop

Improving safety and accessibility across the network

The Victorian Government is investing $5.0 million for the Bus Network Reform project to improve our bus network and the accessibility of bus stops at priority locations across the state.

Bus stops are upgraded as part of rolling maintenance programs to ensure our bus services meet legislation, design and safety standards. 

This funding will enable us to upgrade at least 80 more bus stops by June 2024 to increase accessibility and compliance with the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA) and Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport (DSAPT). 

We’re prioritising busy bus stops, especially those servicing vital community, disability services and care hubs across metro Melbourne and regional Victoria.

Our work will complement accessibility improvements underway across Victoria’s public transport network, including train station and tram stops to meet DDA and DSAPT requirements.

What is Victoria’s Bus Plan?

Victoria’s Bus Plan is the Victorian Government’s long-term strategy to deliver holistic reform to the bus network across the state.

It sets out how we will start to deliver a more modern, productive, environmentally sustainable bus network that increases the number of people choosing to take the bus by delivering simple, safe, reliable and comfortable journeys. 

It doesn’t focus on just bus network changes but on the bus system as a whole, bringing together opportunities across the networks, bus assets, performance, commercial, innovation and customer experience. 

The Victorian Bus Plan also sets out a framework to achieve these objectives.

Zero Emission Bus Trials

We’re rolling out more zero emission buses across Victoria this year as part of the state’s three-year Zero Emission Bus (ZEB) Trials.

Six Victorian bus operators have been selected to trial 52 ZEBs on existing routes across the state’s metropolitan and regional bus networks.

The learnings from the trials will pave the way for the transition of Victoria’s 4,000-strong bus fleet to be zero emissions, providing practical information such as depot charging needs and capacity, infrastructure and energy network requirements, environmental outcomes, customer expectations and commercial arrangements.

The trials will also support the Victorian economy by boosting the transport equipment, manufacturing and electricity supply sectors, driving the local development of skills and innovation and contributing to economies with established bus manufacturers.

From 2025, all new buses purchased in Victoria will be zero emissions, which is critical to helping the state achieve its legislated commitment of zero net emissions by 2050.

It’s all part of Victoria’s Bus Plan to deliver a modern, productive and environmentally sustainable bus network.

Who is involved in the trials and where will the buses be operating?

Donric Group launched the ZEB Trial’s first three battery electric buses (BEBs) operating from its Sunbury depot in October 2022.

CDC Victoria launched the first of eight BEBs in November 2022. The BEB operates from CDC’s Oakleigh South depot along with Australia’s first offsite charging at Monash University Clayton. 

Latrobe Valley Bus Lines launched one electric bus operating from its Traralgon depot in December 2022.

In regional Victoria, Seymour Passenger Services is trialling three electric buses operating from its Seymour depot, providing Victoria's first completely electric town bus network.

In metropolitan Melbourne, Ventura will transition its whole Ivanhoe depot to ZEB operations with 26 BEBs servicing the northern suburbs. Ventura deployed their first 12 BEBs in March 2023.

Transit Systems Victoria launched nine BEBs in May 2023. Two hydrogen fuel cell buses (HFCBs) will also be deployed. Both trials will operate from Transit Systems’ West Footscray depot.

How were the trial operators selected?

Following a rigorous three-stage procurement process, the final seven proposals were selected as being able to deliver the trials within the set timeframes, provide value for money to the state and contribute valuable learnings to the bus industry.

How much will the trials cost?

The ZEB trials received $20 million funding in the 2020-21 Victorian State Budget to undertake research, planning and trials of ZEB technology. Learnings from the ZEB trials will be shared across manufacturers, operators, government and others to inform the procurement of only zero emission buses from 2025.

What is a zero-emission bus?

Zero emission buses do not emit any greenhouse gases or other pollutants into the atmosphere. However, it is important that the energy they use comes from renewable sources for the environmental benefits to be maximised. 

What is a BEB?

Battery electric buses (BEB) operate purely on electricity. They are usually charged overnight, like a mobile phone. The battery drives electric motors which turn the wheels.  

What is a HFCB?

HFCBs are fuelled by hydrogen. Hydrogen is pumped into the bus’s tank like traditional fuels.  A fuel cell combines hydrogen with air, producing electricity and water. The electricity charges a battery which drives the bus’s motor.