State Budget 2024

Some people assume it’s PTV or the transport operators who determine how often your bus, tram or train runs. It’s not – it’s the State Government, and the State Budget is a good chance to see where their priorities lie.

Here’s a quick video summary of the Budget:

As has been widely reported, some infrastructure projects have been pushed back – perhaps not surprising given the government themselves have overheated the construction market, pushing up costs.

Aside from costs, for Airport Rail they have to sort out the design questions first. And for other projects such as the Brunswick level crossing removals, they can use the opportunity to upgrade Sydney Road with better tram priority and tram platform stops, so the tram service can cope during the lengthy shutdown of the Upfield line.

What about major road projects? Well the West Gate Tunnel is pushing ahead, as is North East Link, despite the latter swallowing more and more money.

(People complain about the Suburban Rail Loop cost, but NEL is a far worse project. It makes me wonder if anybody’s calculated the entire cost of the Ring Road and all its widenings since inception.)

So are PT services increasing? There’s barely a blip in the annual service kilometres, despite population growth. I’ll take a look at the trends in a later post.

But there are some worthwhile bus upgrades (including the long-neglected route 800 to finally run on Sundays) and additional V/Line services to Echuca and Warrnambool.

Passengers waiting at Flinders Street station

There’s also some money for walking and cycling options, which is good. I suspect a lot more short journeys would be done on foot or on a bike if conditions weren’t often so hostile. $25m is a drop in a ocean, but it’s a start.

Somewhat under the radar are some rail upgrades designed to keep assets in good condition (including the Geelong tunnel) and improve operational reliability (V/Line disaster recovery control centre, Metro radio upgrades).

Funding for the Metro tunnel to “activate the Big Build” is in there – but it’s not clear what it means. With the project set to finish in 2025, they need to make sure they put in the funding to ensure more frequent trains at all times, in the tunnel and on the connecting lines, to make the most of the infrastructure investment, and to ensure Melbourne catches up on train service frequency.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

8 replies on “State Budget 2024”

I can’t see that there will be much money for the tram track replacements that we’ve become used to happening.

In spite of all the work on the Ring Road, it is still congested.

Do you think the government actually ordered the cessation of tram route 3A and not PTV after being told to save some money? After two complaints to Yarra Trams about the loss, they referred me to PTV.

Last week Upper House MP for Eastern Victoria Tom McIntosh was spruiking upgrades to the Yarram/Leongatha V/line bus on his facebook too. This would be massive if it provided an outbound weekend service after 6pm but I can’t find any specific detail on it – have you found anything?

@Austin, I believe they’ll have the bus go to Pakenham (once the new station opens) instead of all the way into Southern Cross, and re-use the bus/driver resources to run more services.

In theory it could work. In practice they’ll need to make the connection as seamless as possible, perhaps with staff assisting passengers where required.

And they need to ensure some kind of guaranteed connection for train to bus, to allow for train delays – especially for the last bus of the day.

Just one more lane bro, it’ll fix everything all the way to the next millennium.

Funny how it took the government close to sixty years (since the 1969 Transport Plan) to dig up the middle of the Eastern Freeway for public transport purposes, only to install a bus lane where the train tracks to Doncaster are supposed to be, so that people can wait 30 minutes (morning/evening/weekends) for a “Smart” bus that is three quarters of the length of a single train carriage and ends up stuck in traffic for up to half an hour between Victoria Park station and Southern Cross where the train would have taken ten minutes.

Perth just gets it. When did their Doncaster clone, the Joondalup line open? 1992. Right at peak-of-peak car-brain in Victoria where the only thing that mattered was slashing public transport services, ripping up train lines and selling off public assets. To rub it in even more that year, West Coast beat us at our own game in our own backyard after featuring on the box art of a Nintendo game (albeit as Perth in-game). Perth later doubled down and extended the train in the other direction to Mandurah. What did we get? E class trams running virtually empty on route 30 while every second tram on the 109 is an A class. Apparently it isn’t enough that route 12 (which duplicates the inner city portion of the 109) is already exclusively run with A classes, which is basically a non-air-conditioned high-floor early-1980s bus on rails, for those playing at home. At least it’s electric and not diesel, right?

I watched a video on YouTube last night in regards to tram routes, and he mentioned something about E-Class trams on Route 30, and it was not a good idea to run E-Class trams on Route 30; and I agree with the producer of the video. Route 109 is more crowded, but no E-Class, but a quiet route (Route 30) has E-Class trams. But in regards to Route 109, it could be the infrastructure that prevents E-Class trams from running on Route 109, so it is something that the government can look into.

I have just returned from a trip to Perth and was pleasantly surprised to see wherever a freeway was being extended, a rail line in the centre median was also being extended.
It’s a shame SRL’s first stage doesn’t extend to Doncaster, which would have helped provide realistic city-bound services for Manningham residents (albeit with a train change at Box Hill).
There are some simple bus priority actions which could be taken on Hoddle and Victoria Streets which would make for a much more efficient journey for the Doncaster buses. Fingers crossed…

I was on the website of Australasian Bus and Coach, and while I am happy that the 800 will get Sunday services as last, the downside of the budget was that the western suburbs got screwed again with no new services (with the Airport Rail being delayed and the Western Rail Plan being lost to history) while North East Link (which will benefit the eastern suburbs) didn’t get delayed or cut (you can view the article at I think people in the western suburbs (such as myself) will have to wait until 2026 to get anything bus related (election). But the main thing is the Metro tunnel will open soon (which will be a game changer for Melbourne’s northwest), so that is something to look forward to though.

Hi Daniel,

I was hoping you could give me more insight into the additional Warrnambool line services. From looking at the budget papers it states additional weekday services, this would make 6 return services. Is this correct? The last electional made a promise fir additional weekend services, of which so far have not been provided. Would this funding be for these?

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