Nolan says no to hospital bus

An elderly Gold Coast resident fed up with taking four buses to get over a hill to a hospital 5 kms away continues his battle for a direct service

Nolan says no to hospital bus
Nolan says no to hospital bus

By David Goeldner | August 18, 2010

Fed up with taking four buses to travel five kilometres to get to his local hospital, Gold Coast petitioner John Ray has received a resounding ‘no’ for a direct service, which he intends to fight.

Ray says Transport Minister Rachel Nolan’s response to a petition lodged through local member Jann Stuckey’s office was disappointing.

"Bureaucratic contempt I put it down to," says Ray.

He says it can take up to two hours to get connecting buses from his Elanora home to John Flynn hospital at Tugun, which would take 10 minutes by car.

Ray collected 400 of the 1400 signatures calling for a direct bus service.

He says the Minister’s response gave ‘advice’ on how to get to the hospital, listing Surfside’s route service numbers, the same trip Ray has taken on monthly clinic visits.

To complete the 5 km trip by bus, Ray takes a feeder service from his Elanora home to the local Pines shopping centre, which connects to a service along the Gold Coast Highway, connecting with another to Kirra or Coolangatta.

Then it’s a bus back to Tugun, which – geographically – is on the other side of a headland from the starting point.

At present, TransLink does not plan to implement a direct route from The Pines to the John Flynn Hospital, however, TransLink will continue to review these routes, Nolan’s letter says.

Ray says the $25 taxi fare to John Flynn Hospital is out of pocket for most residents.

The privately run John Flynn Hospital came to the aid of Ray and his fellow petitioners in July with a free shuttle service from the Currumbin RSL, which Ray has used.

John Flynn Hospital CEO Greg Jenke says with RSL support the shuttle is a transport alternative offered for patients and visitors finding it difficult to access the hospital.

The shuttle runs half-hourly on week-days from 6:15am to 4:30pm.

"If this service becomes well utilised, the hospital will then look at providing a southern shuttle bus service between the hospital and Twin Towns Services Club (at Tweed Heads)," Jenke says.

Ray welcomes the hospital’s initiative, but says the matter for a direct Government-funded service from Elanora to John Flynn hospital won’t rest.

"The government don’t seem to be interested in this part of the Gold Coast," he says.

"There’s more interest in a ‘tram line’ at the northern end."

Last Friday – 13 August – petitioners continued their action for improved bus services with a rally at the bus stop adjacent to John Flynn hospital.

Ray was at the rally, but ironically, the attendance was low.

"A lot of people couldn’t be there because of limited public transport."

Ray says he will send a letter to the Minister’s office this week in reply to Nolan’s response to the petition.

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