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After a provisional ban was placed on buses using Swanston Street a year ago, the Bus Association is protesting about a permanent ban on tourist buses, especially the Skybus hotel shuttle, entering Swanston Street.
A DECISION to ban all tour buses from Swanston Street has not taken the impact on tourism or the state's ''billion-dollar bus and coach industry'' into consideration, the head of Victoria's bus lobby group says.
A cyclist died in September last year when a large tour bus hit her in Swanston Street. Six months later, Melbourne City Council banned tour buses from parking in Swanston Street, forcing them to Federation Square. But smaller tour buses remained. From Sunday, they too will be forced out, with any vehicle with more than 12 seats banned from Swanston Street.
From November 1, smaller tour buses will have to park in one of two spots off Swanston Street: on Russell Street near Bourke Street, and near the top of Bourke Street.
The popular SkyBus airport shuttle - which drops off 151,000 tourists to hotels on or around Swanston Street every year - has also been banned from the street.
The Bus Association, which represents 500 of Victoria's bus and touring companies, said it was a bad decision that did not consider the tourism industry.
''This will undoubtedly render [hotels] less attractive to the inbound tourism market,'' the association's executive director Chris Lowe said.
''What sort of a message does it send to an international tourist or groups alighting a SkyBus in Russell Street then having to carry their bags to … [a hotel] in Swanston Street? What if the tourist is elderly or physically impaired?''
Lord Mayor Robert Doyle, who last week unveiled plans to reduce the number of delivery vehicles and taxis on Swanston Street, said the council had to balance pedestrian and cyclist safety on the street with other issues.
At least 10,000 cyclists a day ride down Swanston Street, according to Bicycle Victoria.
The cyclists must vie with 6000 taxis, 1700 trams and hundreds of delivery vehicles that also use the street each day.
Cr Doyle said the council had identified alternative parking spots for smaller tour bus drop-offs and pick-ups
PS: See also the battle for space and Doyle wants cars back on Swanston Street threads.
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