City of Mount Gambier continues to advocate for improved public bus services, following the State Government’s decision to award a new bus tender contract with potential to operate until 2035, but with no improvement to vastly inadequate service levels.
“I was incredibly disappointed to hear that despite the comprehensive review of the local bus service that was undertaken by Council in late 2020 highlighting significant inadequacies in the existing model, and our ongoing advocacy to the State Government since, we’ve been advised that the new bus service is being offered without change,” Mayor Lynette Martin said.
“Council has been very vocal on this issue for several years now. The current level of service and bus routes are woefully inadequate and have not been reviewed for 30 years. The comparative expenditure allocated to the local service is more appropriate to a community of around 3000 to 6000 people, rather than a regional capital of around 28,000.”
The service currently doesn’t allow people to access employment and/or education facilities given its restricted hours of operation, does not adequately service facilities such as the Mount Gambier Hospital, Foodbank, the newly developed Wulanda Recreation and Convention Centre and senior lifestyle villages of Woodlands and Hallmont. It also has lengthy wait times for servicing stops along each route and is lacking service to residential growth areas.
Councillor Max Bruins posed a question with notice at the October Council meeting regarding plans for ongoing advocacy work on behalf of the community.
We will not give up on pursuing this issue, and I have written to South Australian Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Hon Tom Koutsantonis to express my disappointment about the situation and request a meeting to discuss it further. Advocacy will also continue with local Members of Parliament, including Troy Bell MP. - Mayor Lynette Martin
The Mayor, Council CEO Sarah Philpott and staff met with new service provider Keolis Downer - LinkSA who wish to work with Council to determine if there can be some adjustments to the routes within the current contract.
“Under this contract we will introduce six brand new buses, aiming to be on the road by 2025 and we will work with Council and community groups to continue to advocate for the services as required by the people of Mount Gambier,” General Manager SA - Bus LinkSA Brett Andruszkiewicz said.
“I was impressed by LinkSA’s willingness to work with us to make improvements within the scope of their contract. We understand that the State Government will be undertaking a Regional Transport Review in 2024 and Council will work alongside LinkSA to identify the potential models of future service delivery, to inform that submission,” Mayor Martin said.
“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the former bus service provider Mount Gambier Buslines for their commitment and service to our community. It is important to note that service issues we have identified have nothing to do with the providers of the bus service. - Council is highlighting a serious State Government funding issue that needs to be addressed.”
Media contact: City of Mount Gambier Media and Communications Coordinator Sharny McLean on 0413 798 327 or email@example.com