Left out in the cold
MORE THAN 100 Wembley Downs residents say they have been left out in the cold by the City of Stirling and the Public Transport Authority (PTA) after their local bus shelter was removed.
The Empire Avenue shelter was removed by the City in August for the PTA’s disability access upgrade but was never replaced because of the Bus Shelter Subsidy Scheme, a funding agreement between the WA Local Government Association (WALGA) and the PTA .
The bus stop that used to be a shelter and bench is now a “no man’s land” on an island in the middle of two roads, according to resident David Von Stieglitz.
“Removal of the shelter and seat leaves bus patrons with nowhere to take shelter on hot or rainy days, and nowhere for frail or elderly people to sit while they wait for the next bus,” Mr Von Stieglitz said.
“For western suburbs residents, the bus is the only public transport option, as there is no train service.”
“It’s absurd that they should do this upgrade of a bus stop and take a perfectly good amenity away and not replace it.”
Mr Von Stieglitz, who organised a 107-signature petition, said he used the stop every day for the past eight years to get to work in the CBD.
Stirling engineering design manager Paul Giamov said because only eight people per day used the stop, a new shelter would not be a possibility.
“Because the patronage was below their (the PTA’s) minimum threshold of 15 boardings per average weekday it would not be eligible for a 50 per cent contribution under their Bus Shelter Subsidy Scheme,” he said.
“To replace that shelter would require the City to fund double the normal cost of a shelter.”
Mr Von Stieglitz said the daily patron criteria should be reduced for the shelter because the area was bordered by a reserve and a golf course.
“To put us against an area that is higher density is unfair,” he said.
Mr Von Stieglitz said the community felt “abandoned” by the move.
“It’s not right that we should be left without a shelter here; not even a bench,” he said.
Mr Giamov said the City was concerned about the removal of the shelter but providing shelters for high-patronage stops was the priority.
“As this bus stop would not qualify for PTA co-funding, the City considers that it would not be a prudent allocation of resources to provide shelter for eight people at the expense of two shelters catering for more than 100 people,” he said.
Elderly resident Sandra Fincham said she had used the shelter for 30 years to get to appointments in the city.
“If it’s going to be 40 degrees or pouring with rain, this does discourage me from using public transport, but I have to catch the bus so I’ll have to turn up at the surgery soaking wet,” she said.
“When my husband was in hospital I was using the bus every day for about eight months to get there.”
David Von Stieglitz and Sandra Fincham.