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Berejiklian to abandon free shuttle services

Berejiklian will axe seven NSW shuttle bus services she says are poorly patronised

June 24, 2013

Poor patronage has been blamed as the reason
behind a decision to axe seven free shuttle bus services in New South Wales.

The NSW Government has run 12 free shuttle bus services at
a cost of about $7 million a year.

But NSW Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian says seven of the services will be cut, and two services changed.

Only three services will remain running.

“There is so much to do in transport we can’t afford to be wasting millions of dollars a year on ghost services that are not used,” Berejiklian says.

Transport for NSW patronage figures from April and March 2013 show the worst performing services each have about one passenger boarding every kilometre of travel.

The worst performing service, the Liverpool service has a 0.6 boarding rate every kilometre of travel and will be discontinued.

Free services for Blacktown, Bankstown, Penrith, Newcastle and Campbelltown are all boarded on average by less than three people every kilometre and will also be cancelled.

But the second worst performing service, the Kogarah shuttle, which has 0.7 boarding rate every kilometre, will be retained on a six month trial as a paid service with an altered route.

The Kogarah shuttle will operate via Calvary Hospital and will be incorporated into the local route structure, have MyZone fares, and will operate on a 30 minute frequency.

The poorly-patronised Gosford route will also be retained, but
as a paid service with changes to frequency.

Meanwhile, the Cabramatta shuttle service, which has more than four people boarding every kilometre, the fourth highest boarding rate of the 12 free services, will be cancelled.

The most popular services – for Parramatta, Wollongong and Sydney’s CBD – will all continue running.

The Sydney CBD shuttle, operating on a loop covering both George and Elizabeth streets, will be shifted to only cover George Street, after an analysis reportedly showed 75 percent of its patronage came from there.

The buses used for the free shuttle services at Blacktown, Bankstown, Cabramatta, Campbelltown, Liverpool, Newcastle and Penrith will be used to provide route services.

Berejiklian says funding saved by discontinuing the services can be invested in new bus and train services.

She says the free shuttle services were funded for one year, but are now taking funding away from other services.

“Each of these shuttles is funded per-kilometre by taxpayers and we can’t afford to be wasting money that could otherwise be spent on much-needed extra transport services including those that will be introduced for bus and train customers in the October timetable and are desperately needed,” Berejiklian says.

She says commuters reliant on free services
will be able to
instead access some of the 1,000 weekly bus services the Government has introduced.

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