Bus service review bid relaunched

Thursday July 23, 2020

Published by The Border Watch

A SECOND attempt to establish a review into regional bus services has been launched by the State Opposition.

Yesterday, South Australian Labor parliamentarian Clare Scriven introduced a motion to the state’s upper house for a review of all city and township service to ensure adequate funding and are providing a service that meets the needs of communities.

If supported, the State Government will be required to provide the finished report to the Legislative Council by October 30, 2020.

Ms Scriven’s motion follows a near-identical and earlier attempt by independent MP Troy Bell to seek parliamentary support for a State Government review.

“It is really important to look at transport options in regional areas and my concern with the motion being moved in the lower house is that it can get lost,” she said.

“My motion sets a deadline which I think is an important part of the process to make sure it does actually happen and it is taken seriously by the government.”

Mr Bell previously told parliament the Mount Gambier City Bus Service had not changed its routes since 1990 despite the city expanding in land cover.

He said the Monday to Friday operation and restricted operating hours of the service was a contributor to low patronage, which was a concern shared by Ms Scriven.

“If you have low patronage, you need to look at the time and location of the service,” Ms Scriven said.

“If people need to get to work at 8.30am they are not able to use public transport because the service does not start until 9am.

“It begs the question of the purpose of public transport if it is not servicing the community’s needs.”

Ms Scriven hoped the government would support the motion in the state’s upper house and consider it as a priority.

“It is a service to the public and it should be available to those who need it,” she said.

Labor will need the support of three crossbench MPs either SA-Best’s Connie Bonaros and Frank Pangallo, Greens parliamentarians Mark Parnell and Tammy Franks or independent John Darley for the motion to pass.

Last month, South Australian Labor indicated it would support Mr Bell’s proposed review into bus services, but was unable to speak to the motion because of time constraints.