Bus ex­change a de­ba­cle

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

A DE­CI­SION to close the Stokes St bus ex­change and move all trans­port routes to Stan­ley St has out­raged bus users who are de­mand­ing an­swers.

Pas­sen­gers are be­ing forced to brave the el­e­ments as a re­sult of Townsville’s re­vamped pub­lic trans­port plan for the new-look CBD.

Pen­sioner Ron Dut­ton, 72, has slammed the lack of seat­ing and ad­e­quate shade struc­tures to pro­tect pas­sen­gers from the weather.

Sun­bus’s par­ent

com­pany Transit Aus­tralia Group has ques­tioned Townsville City Coun­cil’s han­dling of the sit­u­a­tion while the coun­cil has ac­cused the trans­port com­pany of try­ing to pass the buck.

Mr Dut­ton said some­thing needed to be done.

‘‘ I am ab­so­lutely ap­palled by the way the whole sit­u­a­tion has been han­dled,’’ he said.

‘‘ I have been in Townsville for about 17 years and moved here when there was no real pub­lic trans­port.

‘‘ Over that time I have been able to watch as the pub­lic trans­port sys­tem grew to ser­vice the com­mu­nity.

‘‘ The way things are go­ing we might as well go back to square one.’’

The Her­mit Park res­i­dent re­lies on pub­lic trans­port to pay his rent and ac­cess Medi­care fa­cil­i­ties in the CBD.

Mr Dut­ton said the changes were work­ing against progress in the city cen­tre.

‘‘ All the buses used to leave from one area that was equipped with proper pro­tec­tion from the sun and rain.’’

‘‘ Now you are just dumped in the mid­dle of nowhere leav­ing el­derly peo­ple to fend for them­selves. The cen­tre looks won­der­ful but this type of sit­u­a­tion is only go­ing to keep peo­ple away from what we are try­ing to pro­mote.’’

Both par­ties have re­fused to take re­spon­si­bil­ity for is­sues which af­fect up to 1800 pas­sen­gers a week.

Mr Dut­ton said the sit­u­a­tion was a joke.

‘‘ I have tried to call to lodge a com­plaint.

‘‘ But ev­ery time I get a hold of some­one they pass me on to an­other depart­ment,’’ he said.

‘‘ I have seen a young lady with a child strapped over her waist who has been forced to stand out in the hot sun be­cause the new shel­ter only pro­vides seat­ing for about six peo­ple at a time.

‘‘ How is that sup­posed to cater for the amount of peo­ple try­ing to come and go from the city cen­tre?

‘‘ Some­body has to do some­thing be­cause this is just not right and the peo­ple of Townsville de­serve bet­ter.’’

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