Bus changes delayed

David Braithwaite

CHANGES to Sale bus services have been delayed until next year.

The state Department of Transport is reviewing the Sale town bus network, with a view to introducing new and extended routes next month.

The department now expects the route changes will be introduced early 2021.

The proposed changes will deliver two extra routes, expanded coverage and 30 extra trips per day across the network, while services will run on Saturdays for the first time, with 20 trips proposed.

While there were no plans for Sunday services, the Department of Transport will monitor the network to see if extras services are needed.

The existing four routes will be increased to six, allowing people to access the Glebe Estate off Maffra-Sale Rd and Sale Specialist School in the north, as well as the Port of Sale precinct.

Minor changes have also been made to existing routes to make sure more people are within walking distance of bus stops and can access key destinations such as schools and local shops.

The Sale bus network will operate during the same hours as it does now, with services between 6am and 6pm on most routes, except for the Wurruk route, which will operate from about 8.30am to 5.50pm.

One weekday trip will be added to the four current routes.

The south route, servicing Sale Hospital, Ashleigh House aged care facility and Aqua Energy, and north route, servicing the hospital and Gippsland Regional Sports Complex, will be unchanged, with both having four Saturday trips.

The Wurruk route will be adjusted, leaving Sale via Raymond St, and having three Saturday trips.

The route between the train station and the shopping centre will now go past the Port of Sale, and have three trips on Saturdays.

The two proposed routes, to the shopping centre from the Glebe Estate and Sale Specialist School, will have three trips daily from Monday to Saturday.

New bus stops will need to be erected to support the proposed network changes.

Feedback received from community consultation during the past 12 months has been considered.

Overall, feedback gathered from a survey, online submissions and information sessions was positive.

People were “supportive and excited about the proposed changes”, happy about Saturday services, and welcomed better coverage to the north of Sale and more services and options to travel around town.

People said the proposed changes would encourage them to use buses more and make getting around Sale easier, especially to travel to activities, shopping and appointments on Saturdays.

Department regional director Sara Rhodes-Ward said it was committed to providing better transport connections for people in regional Victoria.

“That’s why we’ve worked with the Sale community to understand how we can improve their bus services,” she said.

“We’ve listened to the community and are looking at ways to improve services to cater for Sale’s growing residential areas and provide more connections to important infrastructure and key destinations in the town.”

The new date for the implementation of service changes will be communicated ahead of time.