Education Public Transport | February 03, 2020
Immediate action needed to reinstate Horsham bus routes
The Nationals Member for Lowan Emma Kealy has called on the Minister for Public Transport to urgently intervene after Public Transport Victoria cut the number of school bus routes in Horsham from seven to five.
The Minister visited Horsham last week to announce new bus routes, however Ms Kealy said the Minister had neglected to tell local residents that the changes meant some school children and elderly residents would no longer be able to access the services they relied on.
“This is typical of Labor to announce improvements when in actual fact they were making cruel cuts to services,” Ms Kealy said.
“The community is rightly outraged. My office has been overwhelmed with complaints, because these changes have caused extreme distress to students, parents and educators.
Some students are missing vital learning time because their buses arrive after school starts, or leave before school finishes. In other cases students are having to wait for half an hour after school finishes to catch their bus, without any information given to schools about how or if students will be supervised while they wait. There are many more examples of how these disastrous changes are affecting local residents.
“This is not the fault of Wimmera Roadways, which provides bus services, nor is it the fault of
bus drivers, bus co-ordinators or schools. The responsibility for this mess sits solely with PTV and the Labor Minister, who was proud to be involved in the media announcement about buses but is nowhere to be seen now the disaster of her new routes are impacting on kids, families and schools.”
Ms Kealy said PTV agreed over the weekend to give back one route, but this was not enough.
“Horsham needs all seven routes to ensure children are able to get to school, and so elderly people are not forced to walk long distances or pay for a taxi – if they can afford it,” she said.
“The Minister needs to realise that Horsham is growing, and needs more public transport options for local residents, not fewer.
“Public Transport Victoria has 17 people working on the newly-implemented Horsham bus runs, yet not one of them has come to our area to try to understand the detrimental impact these changes are having on our residents.
“The Minister and PTV need to face the music and immediately act to reinstate all seven bus runs.”
Ms Kealy said she was working on a petition to the Minister and PTV, calling for her to urgently intervene to reinstate all seven bus routes, and for PTV staff to visit Horsham to explain their decisions to local people.
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