Bundy depot deluge


Bundaberg's Stewart and Sons Coaches is on a hard road to recovery after its city depot was all but destroyed in flood waters

Bundy depot deluge
Bundy depot deluge
By Sean Muir | January 31, 2012

Sitting at one of the few undamaged pieces of furniture at Stewart and Sons’
Bundaberg bus depot, Julie Stewart
tries to organise
pay for her staff.

She
has set up a makeshift office on the depot’s top floor, slightly above the mud and ruin left in the wake of Ex-tropical Cyclone Oswald.

The depot is on Targo Street near the city’s centre, where buildings such as the local Salvation Army welfare office flooded to the roofline.

"We lost absolutely everything in our mechanical area, our cleaning area, our bus shed, our engineering shed, our lunch room, our men’s room, our stock room, our drivers' work area – the damage is quite massive," Stewart says.

"I just have a little piece of a desk up stairs here, where I have set up Wi-Fi so that we can pay our staff and keep them going."

Stewart says water came as high as 3.5 metres at the bus depot, completely swamping the building’s lower level.

But with the help of her staff, Stewart has already begun the gruelling task of cleaning up.

"We are here right now cleaning it out," she says.

"Our staff members have been absolutely wonderful – they have been with us all the way, from when it first started to when it flooded, and now they are back again to help us clean."

Stewart says the company’s employees were even on hand to help emergency services with transfers.

"I can’t praise them enough," she says.

Thankfully, Stewart says the company was able to get all of its buses to higher ground before the worst of the flooding hit.

She says all services for Bundaberg’s south side and the city are now running and most school bus services are hoped to begin on Monday.

However, Services on Bundaberg’s north side are still not running, and Stewart says the fate of the depot now rests in the hands of the company’s insurer.

"You know, we have lost almost everything, but it is up to the insurance company and what they pay us at the end of the day."

Meanwhile, two other major bus operators in Bundaberg managed to escape the brunt of the flood.

Duffy’s City Buses Manager Paul Duffy says Duffy’s has kept all its services running, but has had to make some route changes.

"We are high and dry where our bus depot is – we have had to run alternate services to get around the flood waters, but from our perspective we have got out of it all right," Duffy says.

"There is just a lot of bloody mud."

South Bundy Buses Manager Richard Hayes says all South Bundy Buses’ three depots were above the water line.

"But we have had service interruptions due to road closures," Hayes says.

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