Perth's urban sprawl and extraordinary population growth is putting pressure on State Government ambitions to have more commuters within walking distance of a bus stop.

According to Public Transport Authority figures, 84.6 per cent of metropolitan homes were within 500m of a bus stop by the end of 2011-12 - slightly up from 83.8 per cent the previous year.

This is despite WA's population growing about 1500 people a week and Perth's urban sprawl considered to be the fastest-growing in Australia.

But PTA spokesman David Hynes said that with more services being implemented and new property developments within range of existing routes, the number of people close to bus stops was still expected to increase this year.

Since July 1, 49 more bus stops have been installed in the suburbs, including five each in Barragup, Furnissdale and Greenfields and three in Butler.

Mr Hynes said many homes that were not close to bus stops were semirural properties on Perth's outskirts.

"In such suburbs, the very low population density - which is often the reason behind the lifestyle choice to live there - makes it difficult to justify high-frequency buses," he said. "This includes suburbs like The Vines, Mt Helena, Roleystone, Jane Brook, Stoneville and Parkerville."

Transport Minister Troy Buswell said there had been a big increase in Perth's bus network and frequency of services over the past four years.

He said more funding in 2011-12 had led to a 8.5 per cent increase in bus service kilometres.

But shadow transport minister Ken Travers said it was one thing to provide a service but another thing to provide a high-quality service with a frequency that made bus travel attractive.

Local Government Association president Troy Pickard said the sprawl meant councils were being forced to borrow huge sums to build infrastructure.


The West Australian

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