LEONGATHA’S Max Semken has a grand plan to transform South Gippsland and Bass Coast’s transport network and provide an economic boost to the region.
The member of the South West Gippsland Transport Users Group has devised a model based on transport systems overseas, and believes it could be implemented in regional Victoria.
It starts with a new design for regional buses, with 90-seat buses and 120-seat buses to be developed.
Both designs would include eight access ramps, dedicated entrances for disabled passengers and luggage racks similar to the SkyBus in Melbourne.
The 90-seater would have two disabled toilets and two non-disabled toilets, while the 120-seater would have four disabled toilets and four non-disabled toilets.
Max estimates the buses will cost $1.2 million for a 90-seater and $1.5 million for a 120-seater but in the long term it’s going to create a massive amount of jobs.
Max is calling on the Minister for Public Transport to consider his proposals.
“With a 120-seater bus, you could have two services in and out of Bass Coast every hour from 4am to 12pm and that would be huge amount of seats coming in and out,” he said.
“The 90-seater would be solely for Phillip Island because it’s very tight over there and you wouldn’t be able to fit a 120-seater.”
Under the plans, bus and maintenance depots will be built at Inverloch and Meeniyan, providing a major employment boost to the towns.
A smaller station at Cowes would be developed for Phillip Island and San Remo, with stations across Gippsland servicing different areas.
Max would also like to see a train and bus station developed at Clyde, to link up with the metropolitan rail network.
“With this we can get three services an hour every day of the week to Leongatha, it would boost the economic development of South Gippsland and the same with Bass Coast, you’d have three services an hour coming out of Wonthaggi and Inverloch and connecting with Tarwin Lower and Venus Bay,” he said.
“It would boost the economic develop of Bass Coast and South Gippsland by ringing a huge amount of extra people to the region to live.”
Max also believes it can help the job decline in the Latrobe Valley and locally with 200 positions created through manufacturing and network staffing.
“This will be part of saving the Latrobe Valley, because it will all be built in the Latrobe Valley,” he said.
“There will be tyre industries, spare parts industries, you’ll be able to make motors over there and make all the buses.”
Max’s next step will be to lobby the State Government to meet with him to discuss the plans.