Education Public Transport | February 05, 2020

Kealy takes Minister to task over Horsham bus chaos

The Nationals Member for Lowan Emma Kealy has met with Minister for Public Transport Melissa Horne to convey the community’s fury over state government changes to bus services in Horsham.

The minister visited Horsham last week to announce new bus routes, but did not tell locals the true impact of the changes: two school bus routes would be cut and a number of changes would be made to stops and timetables, forcing people to miss buses or be unable to access them altogether.

Immense community pressure forced the minister to reinstate scrapped school bus routes on Monday, and timetables reverted to last year’s arrangements the following day.

Ms Kealy met with the minister on Wednesday morning, and reiterated the frustrations of the hundreds of people who messaged, emailed and called her and her electorate office in relation to the issue. She said it was disappointing that Labor remained committed to only five school bus routes.

“I honestly don’t see how they can achieve more services with fewer buses,” she said.

“Public Transport Victoria will be working with Wimmera Roadways, which provides the bus services, to revise all routes yet again over the coming weeks.

“There will be another consultation phase over the school bus reviews, and I expressed to the minister’s office that this must include the entire community, schools and bus users, and must not be a lecture but a genuine listening process to help build an improved school bus service.

“I also emphasised how the lack of communication from PTV to the community over this entire process has been extremely distressing for many families and bus users.”

Ms Kealy said despite progress with school bus routes, the inadequacy of new town bus routes and the adverse effects for people still needed to be addressed.

She said residents in Horsham North were significantly disadvantaged under the new arrangements, with reduced bus services in their area. Sunnyside Lutheran Retirement Village residents no longer have a bus stop at their centre, while more than 50 people living in a public housing block in Alexander Avenue will be forced to walk at least 10 minutes to catch a bus after their stop was removed.

Ms Kealy said she would continue to hold the government to account on the issue, and thanked community members for their patience, help and support.

“It’s a work in progress with still lot of work to do, but together we’re getting closer to a better long-term result for our community,” she said.

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