Bus trial backers hope State gets on board

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A Kooweerup-based bus company has lodged a proposal for a new service to be trialled over the summer between Kooweerup and Fountain Gate shopping centre via Casey Hospital.

Westernport Roadlines has called on Kooweerup residents to support the Fountain Gate Shopping Xpress trial by writing to their ward councillors and local members of parliament.

If successful, the trial would see buses run between the Kooweerup interchange and Fountain Gate multiple times a day, seven days a week, for three months beginning Monday 19 December.

It would connect with the Yarram and Inverloch V/Line services at the Kooweerup interchange daily between 9.15am and 8pm.

Depending on demand during the trial period, the route would then be considered for incorporation into an ongoing timetable.

Ticket prices are proposed at $10 each way to Fountain Gate and $7 each way to Casey Hospital, available for purchase from the bus driver by cash only.

While Kooweerup Township Committee president Caroline Roff welcomed the proposal, she expressed concern that the cost would prevent some residents from accessing the service.

“The response has been strong and generally positive. The major drawback of the proposal is the cost; at $10 per person each way with no concession, the costs soon add up,” Ms Roff said.

“Kooweerup is crying out for decent public transport and although we have seen improvements in recent years, these buses don’t run frequently enough to provide a workable commuter service on a daily basis.

“But I am worried that the proposal may not get the support it should because of the costs. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the government could put a bit of funding towards bringing the cost of the trial down?

“Hopefully the trial will be successful and encourage the government to look at making this a permanent service subsidised by PTV.”

Westernport Roadlines general manager Lynette Dineen said the concept of the trial had been prompted by consistent feedback from South Gippsland V/Line coach passengers and Kooweerup residents.

Public Transport Victoria (PTV) is currently processing the proposal.

“There is an established process all unsolicited applications for new services must go through, to ensure they are safely accredited by Transport Safety Victoria and meet all the expectations of PTV in terms of service delivery, punctuality and customer satisfaction,”PTV spokesman John Lindsay said.

“PTV is currently going through this process with the operator and will make our recommendation in due course.”

Originally published at Pakenham Gazette.

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About Alana Mitchelson

Alana Mitchelson is a journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Follow her on Twitter at @AlanaMitchelson.

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