‘Please don’t ditch bus’

COMMUNITY SERVICE: Mapleton’s Rosemary Mitchell, Barry Pittard and Angel Starr all met on the bus.
COMMUNITY SERVICE: Mapleton’s Rosemary Mitchell, Barry Pittard and Angel Starr all met on the bus. Lauren Grounsell

THE only public transport system on the Range could soon be lost after the effectiveness of the route was assessed through TransLink's south-east Queensland bus review.

The Hinterland Connect Bus Service was implemented on December 1, 2007 - the Maleny to Nambour route was a trial service and is solely funded by TransLink.

A TransLink spokesperson said the review considered the route's effectiveness, as well as patronage across the region.

"Average patronage and value for money are used as guides to determine the route performance," the spokesperson said.

"However other social obligations are also considered in any final determination.

"TransLink found that, on average, fewer than five people at any time are on this service daily.

"The review recommendation, which was available for public comment, was that this trial bus route be removed because it has not met stated patronage requirements to justify permanent route status."

Concerned Mapleton resident Rosemary Mitchell said she felt "devastated" they might lose the service and passengers she had spoken to were anxious they would lose their freedom.

"For me, I have lived in this area for 30 years, unable to drive," Ms Mitchell said.

"I was very isolated and could only walk places.

"Now I can visit family and friends in Maleny and be with my grandchildren; I can shop, I can seek work - it has just been wonderful.

"I appeal to Range residents to use this transport service or we will surely lose it."

Ms Mitchell said she had seen school students, workers, tourists, the elderly, disabled and backpackers use the service regularly.

"It transports (them) to schools, jobs, businesses that rely on tourists; to doctors, hospital, libraries and shops," Ms Mitchell said.

Mapleton's Barry Pittard met Ms Mitchell on the bus.

He does not drive and the service opened up the community for him and his two children.

"The bus has stopped the children from being shut off from the community," Mr Pittard said.

"It is as though the State Government has not been listening - they are thinking about costs, not people."

A Sunshine Coast Council representative said the original target of eight passengers a trip was exceeded shortly after the service began. The council strongly disagreed with its proposed removal.

"(The Sunshine Coast) aims to be Australia's most sustainable region and an increase in public transport is a key goal." the representative said.

 

THE VERDICT

TransLink sought feedback December 3-17 last year; more than 5300 customers responded to the survey on a variety of topics

TransLink is currently reviewing all the community feedback and final recommendations will be published in the SEQ Network Review Report

Topics:  bus, hinterland, public transport, sunshine coast regional council, translink



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