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Merrifield Connect community bus success helps lead to Government support for a new public bus route in Melbourne’s thriving north

  • Merrifield Connect has completed more than 7,500 user trips to train stations, community services and local schools since it launched on 30 January this year.
  • To meet demand, the new timetable’s services will increase to include additional bus services for each of the morning and evening peak services and new express services between Merrifield and Craigieburn Train Station.
  • Andrews Labor Government has announced an $8.9 million investment in a new bus route along Donnybrook Road for Mickleham and surrounding suburbs, with services expected to commence in 2019.

Merrifield Connect – A privately-funded alternative to public transport in Melbourne’s north is expanding its timetable with more frequent services going to more locations, in response to high demand from local residents.

Since launching in January 2018, the developer-led and funded bus service Merrifield Connect has been firmly embraced by the Merrifield community and demonstrated a strong appetite for permanent public transport infrastructure locally.

Offering an essential connection for residents of Victoria’s largest mixed-use masterplanned community, Merrifield Connect has completed more than 7,500 user trips to train stations, community services and local schools since its launch earlier this year.

Funded by MAB and GPC, the success of Merrifield Connect helped provided the Victorian government a strong and clear platform for the investment and support of future public transport services in Melbourne’s thriving north. To date more than 250 Merrifield residents have purchased a $20 access card for unlimited use of the Merrifield Connect service.

To meet demand, the new timetable services will increase to include additional bus services for each of the peak morning and evening services, as well as a new express offering between Merrifield and Craigieburn Train Station.

Merrifield Connect replicates a typical public bus service, with stops, a timetable, access cards and connection to existing public transport services and, with trip numbers increasing, demand was high from residents for extra services.

Merrifield resident Coral Murtha, who works in Melbourne’s CBD, has been using the service daily and said the new timetable would further benefit locals.

“Merrifield Connect saves me almost 20 minutes each way on my work commute and makes it so easy to embrace public transport. I think it is a fantastic initiative to encourage people to travel more sustainably” she said.

“The additional services will make it an even better service for people, providing more choice and the ability to go to more places.”

Merrifield Community Development Manager Tennille Bradley-Ow said the service would now offer eight return trips per day including two additional return services, with residents excited to see the timetable expand.

“Merrifield Connect has provided a much-needed transport solution for residents, bridging a public transport gap in the rapidly expanding northern corridor.  The growing numbers of bus service users, particularly among those who do not have access to a car, demonstrates a need for locals to be connected to schools, public transport, shopping centres and other essential services.

This increasing demand for local public transport has recently been recognised by the Andrews Labor Government, which has announced an $8.9 million investment in a new bus route along Donnybrook Road for Mickleham and surrounding suburbs, with services expected to commence in 2019.

Member for Yuroke Ros Spence said planning work for the bus route is underway to design a route to connect residents to Craigieburn, including Craigieburn Train Station and Craigieburn Central shopping centre.

“We know Melbourne’s outer suburbs are growing, and we’re delivering the public transport our booming suburb’s need,” she said in an announcement about the planned service.

Ms Bradley-Ow said it was fantastic to see the government supporting residents in Melbourne’s north and reconfirmed MAB’s commitment to providing services with Merrifield Connect.

“This news has been welcomed greatly by the local community and we hope that Merrifield Connect played a role in demonstrating the demand for a PTV service,” she said.

The new and expanded Merrifield Connect timetable will include a new evening service departing Craigieburn at 7:00pm, an express service that will travel between Mickleham and Craigieburn Station in 15 minutes and a new designated school service connecting to several local Craigieburn schools – including Hume Anglican Grammar and Mount Ridley College.

The new Merrifield Connect timetable commenced from 8 October. To access the new timetable, visit www.merrifieldmelbourne.com.au/merrifield-connect.

For further details on Merrifield, visit the Merrifield Sales Centre at Donnybrook Road, Mickleham, phone 03 9684 8120 or visit www.merrifieldmelbourne.com.au.