Blame game rages on public transport
TOWNSVILLE City Council’s revamped public transport plan for the new-look CBD has attracted criticism.
Sunbus parent company Transit Australia Group says it has fielded many calls from disgruntled customers.
Transit regional manager Martin Saxon has questioned Townsville City Council’s handling of the situation.
Mr Saxon said council’s decision to close the Stokes St exchange and move to Stanley St to provide 36 new car parks in the city heart effectively inconvenienced about 1800 passengers a week.
Mr Saxon said the issues in question fell under the jurisdiction of the council.
‘‘ I believe Stanley St infrastructure is inadequate and of course so do our customers,’’ he said.
‘ ‘ Cus t o mer s h a v e b e e n voicing their concerns and asking Sunbus to fix it but unfortunately we can’t.
‘ ‘ T h e i n f r a s t r u c t u r e i s owned by the council and commuters need to redirect their complaints and demands for improvements accordingly.
‘‘ Transit Australia Group is not willing to keep taking the blame for things that are outside of our control, particularly when we are not the decision makers.’’
Council’s planning committee chairman Cr David Crisafulli accused the transport company of trying to pass the buck.
‘‘ The council’s preferred location was in Sturt St near the Cowboys League Club and the opposite side of the street outside the old courthouse, but both of these locations were turned down by Queensland Transport and Sunbus because of cost and traffic-related issues,’’ Cr Crisafulli said.
‘ ‘ P u b l i c t r a n s p o r t strategies in every city outside of Brisbane are determined by the state transport providers and the bus companies themselves.
‘‘ I make no apologies for attacking the issues associ- ated with car parking in the CBD because it has been ignored for too long.
‘ ‘ T h e v a s t maj o r i t y o f motorists in Townsville prefer to drive into the city because of the fact we don’t have a reliable public transport system.
‘‘ I am calling on Sunbus to start providing a professional service for the people using public transport in this city.’’
Marshals were on hand at bus stops throughout the CBD this week to help ease the burden on passengers coming to grips with bus route changes.
Mr Saxon said the council’s d e c i s i o n w a s w o r k i n g against progress in the city centre.
‘‘ By separating the taxi rank from the bus stop, the council has made it clear that integrated public transport was never a criterion for the revamped city heart,’’ he said.
‘‘ The council’s apparent love affair with cars flies in the face of their commitment to building a sustainable city.
‘‘ Sustainable cities around the world provide integrated public transport and actively discourage cars by removing car spaces.’’