MEDIA RELEASE – Hope Street Bus FOI documents add to distress and questions

Monday 25 February 2013

Information contained in documents released under Freedom of Information from Public Transport Victoria has added to the distress and questions being asked by the community who formerly used the Hope St Bus, State Member for Brunswick Jane Garrett.

Ms Garrett said she had been contacted by members of the community who formerly used the Hope St bus, speaking of their distress that the axing of the service had caused.

“The cutting of this service has isolated many people and restricted access to essential weekly shopping, to appointments, community and social organisations and to Meville and Sydney Road.

“The Baillieu Government was repeatedly told of these impacts, but heartlessly didn’t listen and still cut the service.

Concerning documents released under Freedom of Information now show that Minister Mulder’s own department briefed him nine months prior on the make-up the passengers of Route 509 and on the effect removing the bus would have, and also the release of documents showing gross contradictions and differing patronage data that had been quoted in justification for axing the route.

Released information included:

  • Document 1: Ministerial Brief 12      January 2012
    • ‘…overwhelmingly patronised by       concession card holders……mainly elderly residents….’
    • Calculation from 2011 patronage       data show over 73% were concession card holders
    • Patronage data showing between 2       – 3 passengers per trip
  • Document 2: An untitled document      showing patronage date at 1 passenger per trip
  • Document 3: A final document      showing again showing patronage data between 2 -3 passengers per trip

Comparing Document 2 & 3 exposes that Document 2 was only Metcard validations and not Myki. Document 3 includes the table of both Metcard and Myki.

When Minister Mulder was questioned in Parliament in 16 August 2012 about the removal of the Hope St bus, he justified ceasing the route because ‘the busses carry on average of less than 1 passenger per week’.

“Minister Mulder needs explain his erroneous justification in parliament for cutting of the Hope St Bus. This bus was a lifeline for many needy citizens in this community, a fact he and his department knew.

Ends.

FOI & Hansard documents attached

Former Hope St Bus users will be available to talk about the effect the axing of the bus route has had on their lives.

Monday 25th February at 11am, Cnr Murray and Bent St, Brunswick West (Melway Ref. Map 29 C6)

Attached Documents

Documents released under Freedom of Information

–      Cover letter and  three documents

Hansard extracts  – 16 August 2013

–      Adjournment question from Jane Garrett MP

–      Response given from Minister Mulder

Calculations of quoted figures from FOI documents

From Document 1

Sum of 2011 patronage figures is 54,794, of which 40,146 were concession card holders = 73 %

Number of bus services per week on former Route 509 = 392 trips

Total patronage of 54,794 equals 2.7 passengers on average per trip

From Document 3

Number of bus services per week on former Route 509 = 392 trips

Total Patronage for 2011 and up to end September 2012,

86179 (91 weeks) equals 2.4 passengers on average per trip

From Document 2, comparing to Document 3

Monthly totals for April, May, June 2012 from Document 2 exactly match the amounts in the table in Document 3 for the corresponding months, but in the column for Metcard only.

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