Push for bus services for Wyndham estates

Reece Gains (right) who has started a petition for better bus services in Harpley, Cornerstone, and Mambourin estates, with fellow residents (from left) Niranjana Raja and children Mananya, 13, and Maalini, 5, Megan Lam and baby Riley and Thao Le. (Damjan Janevski) 400659_02

Cade Lucas

Reece Gains has lived in the Harpley estate just outside Werribee for the past five years and loves it.

“I think it’s a really nice area to live,” said the 39-year-old of where he, his wife and their one-month-old child share a home.

There’s just one problem.

“It just feels like transport is the missing link at this point,” said Mr Gains, referring to the lack of public transport in the area.

But rather than just complain, Mr Gains is trying to do something about it, starting a change.org petition calling for more bus services in Harpley, Mambourin and Cornerstone estates where currently there are almost none.

“Harpley estate is soon to be home to over 12,000 [residents] and Mambourin estate 3500 residents and Cornerstone estate with no bus services available; some individuals have no choice but to walk over 40 minutes or two kilometres – a distance that is simply inaccessible for many,” said Mr Gains, who is not alone in demanding more bus services for Wyndham and the west.

Last month, Friends of the Earth and the Point Cook Action Group held a public forum on the issue, while in late 2023, a report from Infrastructure Victoria identified improved frequency, rapid transit routes, longer operating hours and lower fares as reforms needed in growth areas like Wyndham.

Mr Gaines wants flexi-buses, which don’t have a set routes and operate on demand, to service the estates.

“There’s one in Tarneit that runs from the Tarneit train station and there’s one in Melton South at Lendlease’s other big development in the west, Cobblebank. And quite a few in the east,” he said, adding that the demographics of Harpley, Mambourin and Cornerstone estates make the need for more buses services especially urgent.

“My mother-in-law is here from Vietnam and doesn’t drive and there are a lot of families here with family members from overseas who come to look after kids who would really benefit. We’ve also got a lot of people who live here because rent is affordable and who work and study but have to catch Uber which gets quite expensive.”

The petition had amassed nearly 900 signatures at the time of publication, with Mr Gaines hoping to get more than 1000 before presenting it to local politicians such as state treasurer and Werribee MP, Tim Pallas.

A spokesperson for the Department of Transport and Planning said Melbourne’s bus network was currently being reformed and that residents in Wyndham housing estates hadn’t been forgotten.

“We’re continually monitoring and investigating how we can improve our public transport network, right around the state including in new estates in Melbourne’s booming western suburbs,” the spokesperson said.

Mr Gains petition can be found at: shorturl.at/CNO56