TICKET TO RIDE

McIvor Times - - FRONT PAGE - By LACH­LAN DURLING

BUSES took their maiden voy­age on Sun­day as the new PTV timeta­bles for the Heath­cote-Bendigo route be­came ac­tive.

This means Heath­cote pas­sen­gers now have five ser­vices each week­day to travel into Bendigo, and three each day on Satur­day and Sun­day.

Mem­ber for north­ern Vic­to­ria Ja­clyn Symes said she was thrilled to pro­vide the ex­tra ser­vices for lo­cals.

“The com­mu­nity cam­paign was run­ning for some time and it’s ter­rific to fi­nally have the ser­vices on the road,” Ms Symes said.

“It’s one of the ben­e­fits of hav­ing a pub­lic trans­port min­is­ter who is fa­mil­iar with the re­gion and can work with PTV and the pub­lic to de­velop a timetable.

“It re­ally is a credit to Jac­inta Al­lan, she was re­ally keen to work with the peo­ple of Heath­cote and Axedale to have a bus ser­vice that suits them.”

The al­ter­ations to the route and timetable mean more lo­cals can get to Bendigo eas­ier, buses travel be­tween Heath­cote and Bendigo via McIvor For­est Drive, Strath Vil­lage Shop­ping Cen­tre and La Trobe Univer­sity.

Ms Symes thanked the com­mu­nity for their in­put, as she walked the streets of Heath­cote and en­cour­aged ev­ery­one to have their say.

“The com­mu­nity can be proud of this, and now it’s about the com­mu­nity util­is­ing these ser­vices,” she said.

“But I’m also look­ing for­ward to Bendigo res­i­dents now be­ing able to

make the trip to Heath­cote to ex­pe­ri­ence the food and en­ter­tain­ment in the area.”

Com­mu­nity mem­bers were there to see the Mon­day morn­ing ser­vice off and said it will pro­vide lo­cals with more op­tions in ed­u­ca­tion and health­care and ev­ery­day ac­cess to Bendigo.

“This in­crease in the fre­quency of bus trips will greatly im­prove ac­cess to health ser­vices for peo­ple re­sid­ing in and around Heath­cote,” Heath­cote Health chief ex­ec­u­tive Dan Dou­glass said.

“Also, the re­duc­tion in fares will en­able our most vul­ner­a­ble res­i­dents to use the buses more reg­u­larly and will pro­vide an af­ford­able op­tion for stu­dents at­tend­ing cour­ses in Bendigo.”

Ad­vance Heath­cote sec­re­tary San­dra Slatter said the ser­vices pro­vide the po­ten­tial for more day tourists and less stress for Heath­cote com­muters.

“Our new bus ser­vice is an­other in­di­ca­tion of Heath­cote on the move. For our com­mu­nity it pro­vides an op­por­tu­nity for those with­out trans­port a means to travel to Bendigo and be­yond to Mel­bourne etc if they de­sire by way of pub­lic trans­port,” Ms Slatter said. “For my­self, it will lessen the stress of driv­ing to the many meet­ings I at­tend in Bendigo. I will cer­tainly be tak­ing ad­van­tage of it.”

Heath­cote Com­mu­nity Chil­dren’s Ser­vices As­so­ci­a­tion mem­ber Eu­gene Mee­gan added: “This new ser­vice pro­vides me with the op­por­tu­nity to get to Bendigo at times when I don’t have ac­cess to my car. It’s a more re­laxed ex­pe­ri­ence and very cost ef­fec­tive.’’

Com­mu­nity mem­bers were there to see the Mon­day morn­ing Route 63 ser­vice off un­der the new ex­tended Heath­cote-Bendigo bus timetable.

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