Buses need to move with Times

Tuesday February 13, 2024

Bell takes aim at 'inadequate' service I ndependent Member for Mount Gambier Troy Bell last week took the opportunity to slam the new Mount Gambier City Bus contract that came into effect in August last year.

Mr Bell praised the work undertaken by the Mount Gambier City Council in conducting a comprehensive review of the Mount Gambier public bus service.

"In 2021, as the end of the existing contract approached, the Mount Gambier City Council conducted a thorough evaluation of the Mount Gambier public bus service," Mr Bell said.

"The purpose was to communicate to the State Government the shortcomings in the current service.

"The report highlighted the vital need for effective public transport within the city and its surroundings, urging substantial changes to the government-funded service."

Mr Bell emphasised the inadequacies in the current service, that has remained unchanged for over 30 years.

"The new $63m Wulanda recreation centre is a fantastic new addition to our city for both locals and visitors. Not one bus services the facility," he said.

"Foodbank is a vital service for many of our most vulnerable residents, yet the closest bus stop requires a 1.5km round trip walk."

"Residents from our two largest retirement communities must endure a lengthy walk to reach the closest stop, which is impractical for many of them."

Mr Bell said the current service was "not fit for purpose" and highlighted the services available to other, smaller areas.

"In contrast to other states and territories, South Australia lacks a standard service commitment for regional centres," he said.

"I draw comparison to the Yictorian town of Stawell. With a population of just 8500, their local bus service runs six days a week with a weekday start time of 7am and the last run commencing at 6.15pm."

Mr Bell said further investment was needed to ensure that all residents have access to essential services.

"Something that our current Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm service does not provide," he said.

"The new like for like contract for Mount Gambier is yet another exam ple of Government not listening to regional communities.

"We need to find tai lored solutions that fit our less densely populated