Bicycle Network: Ride a Trail
Ballarat - Skipton shuttle bus, other transport and bike hire services
Ballarat City Council is developing a regular shuttle bus program in support of the Ballarat - Skipton Rail Trail
Ballarat Shuttle on hiatus
10 February 2010. The Ballarat-Skipton shuttle bus has been placed on hiatus. Early participants have expressed positive views about the service. The program will be evaluated to seek ways of re-inventing a shuttle bus system that is better and more reliable for bike riders. It is expected that the service will reappear in the future at an appropriate stage. Please contact Bicycle Network Victoria if you have questions or comments about the program.
Ballarat Shuttle back for summer season [updated]
20 January 2010. Due to lack of demand, the Ballarat Skipton shuttle bus has been cancelled for Australia Day weekend. Services scheduled to run on Saturday, 23 January and Tuesday, 26 January will no longer be available.
Services are still running in February, March and April.
16 December 2009. After a short hiatus, the Ballarat - Skipton Rail Trail shuttle bus will be returning for summer with a new booking system.
The four month trial supported by the City of Ballarat has come to an end, and the City has decided to suspend their direct involvement in order to evaluate the program and their investment in it. Bicycle Network Victoria looks forward to working with the City again on this project if they decide to continue.
In the meantime, a continuation of the shuttle service has been negotiated for what is expected to be the busy summer season. Ballarat Coachlines will continue to operate the bus service.
Because the City of Ballarat is no longer supporting the service financially, the bus will not be able operate with less than 12 tickets sold on each individual service. Because demand is expected to be higher during the summer, this is a target that should be achievable each month.
If 12 tickets have not been sold by the end of business on the Wednesday prior to each service, the service will be cancelled. All riders who have booked a ticket will be advised on the Wednesday prior to the service, and will be offered a full refund, or the option of transferring their booking to any available future service.
Bicycle Network Victoria appreciates that this may potentially cause increase the chances of inconvenience to members and riders, but thanks all bus users for helping to develop this kind of new service and get it established.
Proposed dates for the summer season are (all departures 9:00am):
Saturday, 23 January
*Tuesday, 26 January - Australia Day (optional service)
Saturday, 20 February
Saturday, 20 March
Saturday, 17 April
Please take this short survey to indicate which service you would be interested in trying out.
Tickets are $25 per person, and can be booked here.
Ballarat Shuttle makes a popular start - more tickets now available
6 August 2009. The launch of the Ballarat shuttle bus went down well with the early adopters with comments generally in the positive, such as "having these options makes Rail Trail rides so much more enjoyable and feasible to cover the whole trail, i.e. brilliant idea" which bodes well for the future.
There was also a range of helpful suggestions for improvement, which will definitely contribute to making the service a better one for all future riders.
Tickets for the August, September and October services are now on sale. Book now!
Saturday 22 August, 9:00am
Sunday 20 September, 9:00am
Saturday 24 October, 9:00am
With spring around the corner, the weather warming up, and the word about this service starting to reach more riders, demand is expected to grow. Be sure to get in early with your bookings for tickets on the remaining trial services, try it out, and help us make the bus an even better experience.
Make a weekend of it!
There is a range of accommodation discounts available exclusively to Bicycle Network Victoria members for riders trying out the Trail. More information on accommodation providers and deals can be found in our where to sleep section of this Trail guide section.
July tickets limited, but still available!
All bus riders are welcome to a complimentary drink and snack at the Golden City Hotel courtesy of Ballarat City Council between 2:00pm and 5:00pm.
Get your tickets now, have a great ride, stop by for a chat and a bite after rolling back into Ballarat.
16 July 2009.
Download the booking form
Tickets can be booked by:
1. Downloading the form.
2. Completing the form and either scanning and e-mailing it to: firstname.lastname@example.org or faxing to: 03 8376 8800.
3. Calling 03 8376 8888 to book over the phone.
4. Booking in person at the Bicycle Network Victoria office.
Great interest in shuttle bus service - more details announced
10 July 2009. There has been great interest expressed in the new shuttle bus service recently announced and soon to begin serving the Ballarat - Skipton Rail Trail. Thanks to everyone for providing feedback. Riders who have expressed interest in booking for the inaugural service on 26 July 2009 have been contacted with booking forms. Tickets will be allocated on first-come, first-served basis.
All riders who have expressed an interest in later services will be contacted with the same information at the appropriate time. Any riders who have expressed interest in booking for July who may be unable to secure tickets are welcome to book for any future service.
Shuttle Service details:
Depart, 9:00am from Ballarat Station, on Sunday 26 July. The drive to Skipton takes approximately 45 minutes.
Riders are invited to drop by the Golden City Hotel in Ballarat (427 Sturt Street) between 2:00 and 5:00pm to chat about the service with representatives of the City of Ballarat. Complimentary refreshments provided by the Ballarat City Council.
Some of the main questions that have been raised about the service so far are:
1. Will there be a return service?
No. At the moment, the proposed shuttle bus service will run from Ballarat to Skipton dropping riders off at the western end of the Rail Trail. Depending on future demand for the service, making a return route available will be considered.
2. Will we have to box our bikes to take on the bus service?
No. This is a bicycle-specific shuttle service, meaning that your bikes will be carried in a separate trailer, with capacity for 25 bikes (one for each rider, fancy that!) This has been arranged with Ballarat Coachlines already.
*Note (27 August, 2009): there has been feedback that the security and padding of the trailer could be improved. This is being prioritised in time for the September service and should be improved to provide better protection for bikes in transit. If this is a concern, feel free to bring any extra precautions.
3. Are provisions being made for V/line to carry bikes?
Unfortunately, no special provisions are being made. There is often room for a small number of bicycles on V/line services, but the larger issue of bikes on trains is not part of this project.
The City of Ballarat is encouraging riders taking up the service to make a weekend in Ballarat. Click on the where to sleep to find details of a range of accommodation deals on offer exclusively for Bicycle Network Victoria members.
4. What are the future dates of the service? Will it run on different days?
Proposed future dates for the trial period are: Saturday 22 August, Sunday 20 September, and Saturday 24 October. During the trial period services will be tested on two Saturdays and two Sundays. After the trial period, it may be determined that it is best to run the service exclusively on Saturdays, exclusively on Sundays, or on both. Additionally, the trial may conclude that different weekends during the month are more appropriate or popular - these issues will be worked out as we go through the trial.
5. Can I book for more than one rider?
Yes, currently you will be able to book for yourself and up to three additional riders. Due to limited tickets available during the trial period, large group bookings are not available, although this option may feature in the future.
Ballarat - Skipton Rail Trail shuttle bus launching this month!
On 26 July, 2009, a shuttle bus runs its inaugural route taking riders down the Ballarat - Skipton Rail Trail. The bus will operate on the last Sunday of the month as part of a trial program to develop services in support of the Rail Trail. The trial program is planned to run for four months through to October, at which point it will be re-evaluated and amended accordingly.
The bus program is expected to operate regularly during the summer months.
The shuttle will depart Ballarat Station on Sunday morning bringing riders and bikes to the Trail terminus at Skipton, leaving time for a leisurely day ride during the day along the 54km trail back into Ballarat. Interested riders are encouraged to spend the weekend in Ballarat, staying overnight on Saturday, leaving plenty of time to catch the bus to Skipton on Sunday morning for a ride back.
Initially, spaces will be limited to 25 tickets per service, with the ticket including carriage of your bike.
Tickets are $25 per person.
Final schedule and booking information is being finalised and will be available by 16 July, 2009.
Please indicate your initial interest in this exciting new service by taking this short survey.
Tickets must be purchased in advance, and as seats are limited, all interested participants are encouraged to book as soon as possible after tickets become available. Bicycle Network Victoria will contact all interested participants with more details by at least July 16, 2009, and will specificially note any changes to the expected Bus schedule. Bicycle Network Victoria will contact all participants who express interest prior to tickets going on sale. Bicycle Network Victoria will also contact all booked participants one week (18 July, 2009) prior to scheduled service to confirm the service, or advise if the service will not run as planned.
This information will also appear on this page as it becomes available.