- Thursday 27 June 2013
The Hinterland Connect bus service has received a last minute reprieve - in the form of a 12 month trial - after Sunshine Coast Council and MP Andrew Powell stridently defended the service on behalf of hinterland locals.
Transport Portfolio Councillor Rick Baberowski said the 12 month trial is an opportunity for the community to demonstrate how much they value the bus service.
“Hinterland Connect will run on weekdays only between Nambour and Maleny servicing daily work commuters, school children and locals who use the bus to get to the hospital, visit shops and attend appointments,” Cr Baberowski said.
“Council negotiated a 50/50 funding arrangement with the Queensland Government in order for the trial to continue for another twelve months.
“At the end of the trial the State Government will review the numbers and if they have met or exceeded an average of 7.5 passengers per trip the government can commit to the service becoming a permanent part of the state public transport network.
“Our 50% contribution will be funded by the Public Transport Levy and that’s in keeping with the intent of the levy which was set-up to assist the state government in assessing the viability of public transport services in the region.”
Division 5 Councillor Jenny McKay said council has been in tough negotiations with the state since the South East Queensland Bus Network Review in March revealed government plans to axe the service.
“Council has had to fight hard on this one which has strengthened the relationships with our state counterparts because we stayed strong to our cause and the state showed they were prepared to listen and negotiate for a positive outcome,” Cr McKay said.
“Council stood our ground regarding the importance of the service to hinterland locals and with the listening ear of local MP Andrew Powell we’ve been able to negotiate a positive outcome.”
Division 10 Councillor Greg Rogerson said it’s important to get the message out to the community that locals need to use it - or they will lose it.
“This is the best outcome we managed to achieve and while it’s not the optimum result of seven days a week, let’s use this opportunity to demonstrate to the State Government that indeed this is a crucial and vital public transport service for the range and hinterland community,” he said.
“We will demonstrate that we need this service and I encourage locals to hop on board and show a ticket of support for public transport on the Sunshine Coast.”