The O’Keefe Rail Trail cyclists will soon be able to include the Bendigo-Heathcote PTV bus as an option to catch a bus and bring their bicycles with them, thanks to the State Government’s Bikes on Buses initiative and lobbying by Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail community group.
Bike racks will be installed on buses for the Bendigo to Heathcote route, all routes in Bendigo, and the six local routes in Castlemaine.
A maximum of two bikes will be able to be safely secured on the rack at the front of the bus, while bus drivers on the routes will complete training to assist the passengers in bringing their two-wheel bikes on board.
The soon to be installed feature will provide cyclists with additional transport options and offer more accessible connections to popular local recreational trails, including the O’Keefe Rail Trail, Goldfields Track, Bendigo Creek Trail, and the Castlemaine-Maldon Rail Trail,.
In 2016, the Department of Transport first trialed bike racks on two bus routes in Melbourne and two regional locations that included the route 70 service from Bendigo Station to Strathfieldsaye. At the conclusion of the trail, the approved staged roll out program included all the urban Bendigo routes yet not the Bendigo-Heathcote route. The Friends group approached Bendigo East member Jacinta Allan, seeking to have the Heathcote PTV bus service included in the program at the same time as Bendigo. Minister for Public Transport Ben Carroll subsequently approved this request.
Minister for Public Transport Ben Carroll said: “We’re extending the Bikes on Buses initiative to make public transport more accessible for more cyclists in the Bendigo and Castlemaine region.”
“Whether it’s riding to work or exploring one of the region’s bike trails, Bikes on Buses will better connect cyclists to their destination.”
The Member for Bendigo West, Maree Edwards, said: “Bikes on Buses will give cyclists more options when choosing a route to reach their destination – all while delivering convenient access to the Castlemaine-Maldon Rail Trail, The Goldfields Track, O’Keefe Rail Trail and Bendigo Creek Trail.”
The bike racks are expected to be installed on those buses, for the indicated routes, from early 2022. A video is available to assist how best to use this new service, via this link.