Coun­cil driv­ing force be­hind bus ser­vices

Central and North Burnett Times - - NEWS - Shirley Way shirley.way@cnbtimes.com.au

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.”

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