Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

MUTINYON THE BUSES Bus Revolt Grows; Anger Mounts over City's Transport Shake-Up

Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

MUTINYON THE BUSES Bus Revolt Grows; Anger Mounts over City's Transport Shake-Up

Article excerpt

Byline: Andrew korner

TRANSLINK is facing a growing backlash from Ipswich residents angered by a huge overhaul of the region's bus services.

Although new services have been promised in some areas, the decision to axe the 505, 510 and 523 routes from December 13 will leave parts of the city without buses.

There were angry scenes at a meeting called in North Ipswich to discuss the changes, and bus users have also voiced their frus- trations at TransLink information sessions held across the area.

But yesterday Transport Minister and Ipswich MP Rachel Nolan insisted the services did not offer value for money.

"The three services that are being removed cost $1.1 million a year to operate and average less than two people on every trip," Ms Nolan said.

"That's just not a waste of taxpayers' money that can be justified."

Some 40 residents confronted TransLink staff in a meeting at Browns Park called by city councillor Cheryl Bromage

North Ipswich resident Louise Fullarton told the meeting that even a limited bus service would have been preferable to no bus service at all.

"You have thought this out beforehand and not given any consideration to us, the people who have to live here," she told TransLink representatives Sally Stannard and Andrew Berkmann.

Areas which have lost bus services have been promised access to a Flexilink taxi service. This would allow residents to book a cab for $2 into central Ipswich.

But there are fears the city's cabs will not be able to cope with the increased demand and the cost of using the service would be greater than the fares now charged for bus journeys.

TransLink strategy director Ms Stannard said she understood the community's concerns, but the Flexilink arrangement would mean that Yellow Cabs would have to provide a reliable service or face losing the contract.

"As a taxi customer you would normally not have anyone to stand up for you, but in this situation you've got us," she said.

"We expect to deliver some good outcomes. …

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