- Tuesday 19 March 2013
Sunshine Coast Council is calling on the Queensland Government to continue the Hinterland Connect bus service between Maleny and Nambour.
The call comes as council and the local community begin to digest the recently released South East Queensland Bus Network Review which states that the route will be removed from the network’s timetable.
Division 10 Councillor Greg Rogerson said the decision would leave hinterland residents stranded.
“People living in the hinterland are being let down by the state’s decision,” Cr Rogerson said.
"And it’s now time to feed that sentiment back to the Department of Transport and State Roads.
“I’ve had people calling me with their personal stories about the hardship they will face if the bus stops running.
“I’ve been at community meetings and heard anecdotally that there can be up to 26 people catching the bus on weekday mornings.
“I can’t emphasise this enough – our community needs public transport, the hinterland needs this bus service - don’t take the Hinterland Connect bus away.”
Division 5 Councillor Jenny McKay said the Department for Transport and State Roads needed to undertake a comprehensive survey of the patronage level of the service before discussions about removing the essential transport option became a reality.
“I strongly encourage decision making based on sound evidence. The Department must look at the number of people regularly using the service and, more importantly, understand how these people rely on it,” Cr McKay said.
“If this bus service is removed there is no alternative for people who don’t have a car - they literally will not be able do basic things such as shop or get to appointments let alone catch up with friends or family, or socialise generally.
“It’s an essential public transport option in the hinterland network that locals simply cannot do without.”
Transport Portfolio Councillor Rick Baberowski said the South East Queensland Bus Network Review was wrong in its recommendation and that an injection of people power was needed to make sure the state government heard before the final decision was made.
“The Queensland Government has made their intentions clear and it’s time for the region to let them know that the Sunshine Coast public transport network needs this important service,” Cr Baberowski said.
“In addition to council submissions, I have already written to the Minister for Transport and Main Roads, Scott Emmerson, to make him aware of council’s evidence and advice to retain this service and restated the community’s very valid concerns before he makes any final decisions.
“But your voices must also be heard in this final opportunity for feedback.
“Right now is the time to have your say and I encourage users of the service to get involved.
“The Review can be found on the Translink website where you can also provide feedback via a link on the page about the recommendation to remove the service.
“The closing date for feedback is 7 April and I would urge people to respond as soon as possible to show how important the service is to them.”