Sharkie wins bus service switch to Seaford
Following strong advocacy with the State Government and transport authorities, Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie has successfully lobbied for changes to the new South Coast bus timetable to improve passenger services.
The changes, which come into effect on February 25, include changing the bus and train transfer point to the Seaford Interchange instead of Noarlunga and extra weekday, off-peak trips between Goolwa and Victor Harbor.
“The new bus timetable has proven to be very popular with more residents using the service but the feedback from the community was that changing at Noarlunga was causing some issues because of distance and access, especially for our more senior citizens and travellers with disabilities,” Rebekha said.
“I have been in constant communication with both the Minister for Transport Stephen Mullighan and the Department of Planning Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI) since the introduction of the trial so I am pleased to advise that as a result of discussions the transfers have been switched to Seaford to better serve our community.
“For passengers still wishing to continue to Noarlunga, the bus will continue to stop at Colonnades on its way to Marion or Adelaide.
“The changes also include an extra two weekday, inter-town services between Goolwa and Victor Harbor, departing Goolwa at 11.15am and 1.45pm.
“And all trips from Goolwa will now begin at Cadell Street Stop 16, to enable greater access for elderly residents at the Sea Change Retirement Village.”
The timetable trial was introduced in early October 2017 in order to offer early morning routes for commuters, students and patients at the Flinders Medical Centre.
The lack of early morning buses was one of the biggest issues raised with Rebekha during the 2016 election campaign.
Leading up to Christmas, passenger numbers during the week rose to an average of 488 trips a week from 470 under the old timetable.
Passenger numbers dropped in first week of the trial and during the January holiday period but Link SA said this was expected and consistent with usual trends.
Passenger numbers for weekend transfer services remained about the same at six passengers per trip compared with seven passengers for the direct bus service under the old timetable.
“Removing the direct service on the weekends has caused some angst in the community and I did raise this directly with the State Government, asking them to provide a subsidy to Link SA so they can restore the direct weekend buses, and reduce the cost of all the services,” Rebekha said.
“The Minister has indicated that he will consider the subsidy, which is a step in the right direction.
“Unfortunately without the subsidy Link SA says there are not enough passengers to make it financially viable to bring back the direct weekend services.
“But in the meantime I have been working with the SA-BEST candidates for Finniss and Mawson, Joe Hill and Hazel Wainwright, to come up with a comprehensive transport plan for the Fleurieu.
“This would be an election commitment for SA-BEST but I strongly believe this plan would vastly improve connections between our South Coast and Fleurieu communities and I look forward to the Party making its announcement in the near future.
“Meanwhile, I’d like to thank the people of the South Coast for giving us their feedback, and I’d like to thank the Minister, DPTI and Link SA for listening to that feedback and making the changes that needed to be made.
“It is expected that patronage will pick up this month, and when the university semester begins, but I’d like to urge those residents who wanted the early morning buses to use these services during the trial period.”