EX­TRA NSW ON-DE­MAND BUS SER­VICES

ABC (Australia) - - NEWS -

NSW SOUTH COAST op­er­a­tor Sapphire Coast Buslines (SCB) is to start two on-de­mand bus tri­als for the Bega and the Mer­im­bula-Tura Beach-Pam­bula ar­eas, the com­pany has an­nounced.

In part­ner­ship with Trans­port for NSW, Sapphire Coast Buslines launched both ser­vices on July 6, 2019, of­fer­ing “…ad­di­tional con­ve­nient and personalis­ed public trans­port op­tions”.

Ac­cord­ing to the com­pany, the new ser­vices are a con­tin­u­a­tion of the NSW Gov­ern­ment trial of on-de­mand public trans­port as a more flex­i­ble ap­proach to de­liv­er­ing ser­vices when and where peo­ple need them, and to im­prove con­nec­tiv­ity to the ex­ist­ing public trans­port network in NSW.

Known as the Flex­ibus On De­mand ser­vice, it will op­er­ate Mon­day to Fri­day from 9:30am–2:45pm and on Satur­day

9:30am–3:35pm. The ser­vice al­lows pas­sen­gers to book a trip within the des­ig­nated on-de­mand zone to make con­nec­tions from home to shops, med­i­cal cen­tres, as well as other trans­port con­nec­tions.

HOW IT WORKS

The ser­vice is pri­mar­ily de­signed to be booked through an app, ex­plains Sapphire. To book a jour­ney on this trial ser­vice, pas­sen­gers will use the Flex­ibus app ob­tained for free through the Ap­ple App Store or Google Play Store.

For users who don’t have ac­cess to a smart­phone the ser­vice can be booked by phone via the Sapphire Coast Buslines dur­ing op­er­at­ing hours Mon­day to Fri­day and also online, it says.

“The App is an ex­cit­ing part­ner­ship de­signed by a lo­cal com­pany GoToPlus and will al­low users to track the lo­ca­tion of the ve­hi­cle, their his­tory, re-book reg­u­lar jour­neys and also pre-pay for book­ings us­ing the ‘wal­let’ pay func­tion,” man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Jamie Klemm said.

“We are very cu­ri­ous to see the up­take of users in the val­ley. A re­cent com­mu­nity [sur­vey] sug­gests that 50 per cent of bus travellers would be in­ter­ested in book­ing via an App or online, so we can’t wait to see how this changes the habits of pa­trons.”

MO­BIL­ITY AID

The on-de­mand ser­vice al­lows eas­ier ac­cess to bus stops for those with mo­bil­ity dis­ad­van­tage, Sapphire Coast Buslines ex­plains.

The ser­vice will run us­ing two new Iveco 12-seater Daily ve­hi­cles, which will be Euro 6 com­pli­ant – bring­ing them into line with the Ul­tra-Low Emis­sion Zone ve­hi­cle stan­dards – and will be fully wheel­chair ac­ces­si­ble, says Sapphire.

In terms of cost of ser­vice, this is based on stan­dard ru­ral and re­gional bus fares and con­ces­sions; pen­sion dis­counts will ap­ply, which also as­sists those on a budget or NDIS plan.

GOV­ERN­MENT SUP­PORT

Mem­ber for Bega and Min­is­ter for Trans­port An­drew Con­stance MP said: “This is yet an­other fan­tas­tic ser­vice for the lo­cal re­gion.

“These buses have been well re­ceived and well pa­tro­n­ised in other ar­eas and I hope that peo­ple utilise the ser­vice if they re­quire trans­port across Bega and Mer­im­bula, Pam­bula and Tura Beach.

“Ac­cess to public trans­port is so very im­por­tant in re­gional ar­eas and I am su­per ex­cited to see more ser­vices rolled out across the Bega Val­ley,” Min­is­ter Con­stance said.

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