Mickleham residents could be waiting years for public transport services, prompting the developer of the Merrifield estate to start up its own commuter bus.
More than 3100 people live in Mickleham – up from 1185 in 2011– with Merrifield set to grow to 25,000 residents in the coming years.
According to the 2016 Census, 79.5 per cent of Mickleham residents rely on cars to get to work. Four per cent catch trains.
In a bid to make it easier for residents to use public transport, developer MAB and Gibson Property Corporation have launched the Merrifield Connect bus service.
It is believed to be the first time a developer in Victoria has launched its own bus service.
The bus, which began last week, travels between the estate and Craigieburn train station, with stops at Mickleham Primary School and Craigieburn Central shopping centre. Residents are being asked to pay $20 a year to use the bus.
Services depart Mickleham on weekdays at 7am, 8am and 9am, and again at 4pm, 5pm and 6pm. The bus leaves from Craigieburn station at 7.30am, 8.30am and 9.30am, as well as 4.30pm, 5.30pm and 6.30pm.
Estate community development manager Tennille Bradley-Ow said the service would provide a much-needed interim solution.
She said she hoped the bus would offer a platform for future public transport services.
“This is a really important service,” she said. “We already know of families who will be using it to get their children to local schools and amenities.”
Resident Mandy Glassey has been driving to work in South Melbourne, but said she would now use the bus to get to the train station.
“I spent two to three hours in the car every day, instead I could be using the Merrifield Connect service, giving me back precious time,” she said.
Transport For Victoria has not revealed when public transport will be extended to Mickleham.