Toolamba com­mu­nity bet­ter con­nected

Shepparton News - - NEWS - By Thomas Moir

Toolamba res­i­dents are bet­ter con­nected than ever with Shep­par­ton and Mel­bourne bound coaches now stop­ping in town every week­day.

Res­i­dents are cel­e­brat­ing Toolamba be­ing in­cluded on the V/Line coach route be­tween Shep­par­ton and Sey­mour af­ter a push from within the com­mu­nity.

The new stop and ser­vices started late last month fol­low­ing com­mu­nity pres­sure.

A Mel­bourne-bound ser­vice has be­gun stop­ping in Old Toolamba week­days at 9.05 am, while a Mel­bourne to Shep­par­ton ser­vice now stops in the town at 5.12 pm week­days.

In push­ing for the ser­vice to stop, lo­cals made the point towns with smaller pop­u­la­tions than Toolamba’s more than 850 peo­ple were al­ready pro­vided for by the ser­vice and ques­tioned whether the size of Toolamba meant it nec­es­sar­ily had low de­mand for ser­vices.

Res­i­dents also ar­gued ser­vices trav­elled through Old Toolamba be­tween Mooroopna and Murchison twice daily with­out stop­ping and would not com­pro­mise the punc­tu­al­ity and di­rect­ness of the Shep­par­ton to Mel­bourne coach ser­vice.

In cor­re­spon­dence, res­i­dents had stressed the clos­est coach stop was Mooroopna, at 13 km away, adding on other routes, stops had been placed markedly closer to­gether.

Toolamba rail­way sta­tion closed more than 20 years ago and since then res­i­dents ar­gued they had needed to travel as far as to Shep­par­ton or Sey­mour to con­nect with ser­vices.

A pe­ti­tion which cir­cu­lated the town read ‘‘the Toolamba pop­u­la­tion has at least dou­bled in that time’’ since the rail­way sta­tion closed and stressed other V/Line coach stops were lo­cated short dis­tances apart, with seven out of 13 stops be­ing less than 10 km apart.

‘‘A stop in Old Toolamba would al­le­vi­ate ex­tra travel, time, ex­pense and park­ing is­sues for Toolamba res­i­dents who travel to other coach stops,’’ it read.

The de­sire for a stop in Toolamba was first raised in late 2015, fol­lowed by a com­mu­nity sur­vey, cor­re­spon­dence with Pub­lic Trans­port Vic­to­ria, Mem­ber for North­ern Vic­to­ria Wendy Lovell and State Mem­ber for Shep­par­ton Suzanna Sheed.

The com­mu­nity re­ceived no­ti­fi­ca­tion early this year that the new coach stop would be es­tab­lished in Old Toolamba, on Mooroop­naMurchi­son Rd.

Pic­tures: Holly Cur­tis

Good out­come: From last month, coaches be­tween Mel­bourne and Shep­par­ton started stop­ping in Toolamba twice each week­day.

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