Saturday, July 24, 2010

route 694 – we need to be reassured

report from the roundtable – 13 jul

At the last council meeting I raised the issue of bus route 694. There are some inconsistencies between what our local MP is saying and what the recently released Yarra Ranges Bus Service review is recommending. Whilst a newspaper article reports the route is staying the bus review is clear in its intent that the route will be removed.

Route 694 - staying or going?

In order to get some clarity and assurances for our community I moved the following motion.

That council write to the Minister for Public Transport, Martin Pakula, to confirm

1) Whether the Yarra Ranges Bus Service Review recommendation to remove Route 694 is correct;
2) Should Route 694 be removed, clarify the timelines for the removal of the service;
3) Clarify what is meant in real time by short, medium and long term timeframes as referred to in the review.

In April 2010 the government released the findings of the Yarra Ranges Bus Service Review. The review was extensive and detailed changes to bus services throughout the Shire of Yarra Ranges. Most of the recommendations included enhancement of services and new services over the short, medium and long term throughout the Yarra Ranges Shire. However in one case the recommendation was to delete a service, being Route 694, Olinda to Belgrave via Sherbrooke Road.

I had further concerns around the timing of recommendations. The Implementation plan refers to a short timeframe for changes to route 694 (and route 688), although the implementation plan refers to a short timeframe, the implementation table indicates it is a medium need.

This is currently the only public transport option offered along Sherbrooke Road, from Kallista through to Ferny Creek, and its cancellation would disenfranchise residents along this road, residents travelling between the two townships, students who utilise the service to get to Sherbrooke Community School and tourists. Should the recommended changes be implemented per the bus service review, residents who want to travel from Belgrave to Olinda via bus would have to do so via Upper Ferntree Gully, adding many kilometres and minutes to the journey.

I moved the motion to seek council's endorsement to ask for clarification from the Minister for Transport, our community needs some surety about this one because what our local MP is saying is in direct conflict with what the bus review is saying.

Councillors supported the motion unanimously.

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