Council driving force behind bus services
IN A bid to better integrate coach routes, the North Burnett Regional Council now manages the region’s bus services.
Deputy Mayor Faye Whelan said the North Burnett Regional Council’s successful bid to offer a reliable and integrated bus service for the region was a community win.
“It’s been a culmination of a lot of years’ work by myself and members of the mainly Mundubbera community,” CrWhelan said.
“With Sandra Schultz, president of the Mundubbera Hospital Auxiliary, we identified many years ago the challenges people have in getting to specialist appointments in Bundaberg and Brisbane.”
Monto Community Development Council’s manager Kevin Fox said the bus service may still not adequately service the elderly travelling to medical appointments.
“Some people can’t take the bus or drive (to Bundaberg),” Mr Fox said.
He said last year Monto residents would arrive in Bundaberg at 10am and be ready to return at 2pm, which may not allow them to fit in multiple appointments.
With a 2014 cost of $24 return, weekly visits could be out of reach – and not eligible for refund through the Patient Transport Subsidy Scheme.
“Although a lovely idea, it’s not practical,” Mr Fox said.
The council’s bid came after the Queensland Government reviewed long distance bus services in 2013.
Deputy Mayor Faye Whelan said the bid was based on the successful micro-bus service pioneered by Mundubbera’s Jena Boran Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Corporation, which served as a pilot for similar services in regional Queensland.
Buses with up to 20 seats were a “workable option for rural and regional areas”, Ms Whelan said.
“We’re extremely happy with what we have been able to achieve with the government and Translink.
“It will depend on usage of those buses, if we can prove we don’t have enough seats, we may be able to negotiate more with Translink.”