Ms TIERNEY (Western Victoria) — My question is for the Minister for Public Transport, Martin Pakula. Can the minister inform the house of what the Brumby Labor government is doing to prepare for the thousands of spectators who will be travelling to Geelong and the Bellarine Peninsula to watch the UCI Road Cycling World Championships event?
Hon. M. P. PAKULA (Minister for Public Transport) — I thank Ms Tierney for her question. I know she asks her question in her capacity as a member for Western Victoria Region, with a particular focus on Geelong, but perhaps she asks it as a keen cyclist or cycling enthusiast as well.
I know I might get Mrs Coote going about the lycra-clad warriors — —
Mrs Coote — What colour are yours?
Hon. M. P. PAKULA — I have never been seen in lycra, and I can assure the house I never will be. The UCI Road Cycling World Championships is a world-class cycling event. It is rated by many cycling enthusiasts as second only to the Tour de France. We are supporting it with a huge increase in peak public transport services. There will be something like 22 000 extra V/Line seats offered to passengers over the two biggest days of the competition, 2 and 3 October. V/Line is going to be adding more than 50 extra train services over that weekend and increase service frequency on the Geelong line so that trains depart from Southern Cross station every 10 minutes during peak event times on Sunday, 3 October. Spectators are going to be able to catch 13 special express trains on the Saturday and 42 special express trains on the Sunday of the competition.
Mr Lenders — How many?
Hon. M. P. PAKULA — There will be 42 special express trains on the Sunday. In addition to that there are going to be more than 2700 — —
Mr Finn — But you cannot get them to work on time!
Hon. M. P. PAKULA — Mr Finn could probably do with a bit of a ride on a bike. More than 2700 extra bus services will run across Geelong and the Bellarine Peninsula during the five-day event. The local bus companies, McHarry’s and Benders, will boost services by 66 per cent to almost 7000 trips from Wednesday, 29 September, to Sunday, 3 October. Those bus companies will add an extra 1500 services from the Tuesday to the Friday and more than 1200 services on the weekend to cater for the tens of thousands of visitors that Geelong is expecting and to help minimise disruptions for local residents. There will also be a fleet of stand-by buses throughout Bellarine and Geelong to manage any unexpected surge in demand.
With a significant number of road closures, buses will operate on revised routes for the duration of the event. An extended special timetable and revised route maps are now available on the Viclink website. Event organisers are anticipating that the course will be lined with something like 300 000 spectators across the five days of competition and something like 150 000 on the Sunday alone.
This is a world-class event.
It is fantastic for Geelong and it is fantastic for our reputation as a great sporting state more generally and so we need to back it up with world-class transport options during that week — and that is exactly what we will be doing.