Blame game rages on pub­lic trans­port

Townsville Bulletin - - News - by Ryan Mathe­son ryan. mathe­son@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au

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.’’

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