THE STATE government announced last Thursday, February 20, that six new transport services connecting small regional communities will soon hit the road, bringing the total number of new trials under the initiative to 13 across the state.
Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole said tenders were now open for local operators to be a part of providing those services.
Of the six additional routes out to tender is a weekly day-return transport service from Tumut to Wagga Wagga via Grahamstown, Tarcutta and Ladysmith, connecting with existing transport connections to Sydney and Melbourne.
“We’re delivering on another of our election commitments, which provides more options for people living in rural and regional communities to be able to easily connect with nearby hubs,” Mr Toole said.
“Last year we fast-tracked six of our 13 new trials for some of our most isolated communities, and now we’re delivering our remaining six services, with a seventh service starting last week between Dubbo and Mudgee.
“For some of these communities this could be the first time they’ve had access to a public transport service, so this will really change the way many people move around in the bush.
“These extra transport services will mean better connections to nearby rural towns, cities or existing public transport services, and will help people in regional NSW stay better connected to nearby communities to do their shopping or access services.
“Services will initially commence on a trial basis and allow us to respond to any feedback to improve the services or routes.”
The new routes could be delivered as an On Demand or timetabled service, and be operated by a bus, coach, taxi or other transport provider.
Goodes Coaches have confirmed that they will be putting in a proposal for the service.
“We’re hoping that we’re in a pretty good position to get it,” Anthony Goode said on Monday.
“It will be at least a six month trial, but at the end of that, there’s no guarantee that the service will be in place.”
Mr Goode encouraged the community to use the service during the trial, which is envisioned as a bus offered on a Wednesday, otherwise he doesn’t see it continuing past the trial period.
Valmar, who offer disability and aged services as well as community transport, was considering putting in a proposal to run the service, but ultimately decided against it.
CEO Hugh Packard took the issue to a board meeting on Tuesday, but the board’s position was that they already have “enough on their plate” and shouldn’t be offering something that isn’t aimed at their core business.
The closing date for tenders is March 9.