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More than transport - Launch of another free shuttle bus

On February 15, Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore, launched the second development in the “Village to Village” free shuttle bus service for South Sydney Community Transport reports Dorothy McRae-McMahon in the South Sydney Herald of March 2008.

This new shuttle bus service runs Thursday and Friday of each week. The bus starts from the Mary McDonald Activity Centre in Bourke Street, Woolloomooloo travelling up Macleay Street, stopping at St Vincent’s hospital before heading to the Surry Hills shopping centre. The bus picks up passengers along the route before ending its journey at Poets Corner in Redfern where it meets up with the Redfern to Broadway shuttle bus.

These shuttle bus services have been made possible by a $95,783 grant from the City of Sydney Council.

As many citizens in Sydney find, because of the mainly radial design of transport services, centring on Sydney CBD, it is time-consuming and expensive to travel by publics transport across suburbs. This makes it particularly difficult for those who are aged, frail or with varying levels and types of disability. For this reason, the cross-suburb routes of the free shuttle buses are widely welcomed.

87-year-old Dott Tracey of Northcott, who jokingly calls herself a “cooked goose” because of the limits on her strength and energy, finds the shuttle buses a great way of “wandering around the area” as she used to enjoy doing on foot when she was younger. Elaine Evans, who is now visually impaired, loves going on the buses to do her shopping and to travel with friends.

Jacques Gonthier from Waterloo who speaks five languages and has lived in several countries before he arrived in Australia in 1969, used to find it a long and strenuous trip to get to hospital by public transport. Now he can get to RPA Hospital or St Vincent’s Hospital in minutes. He thinks the buses need far more publicity so that they can be filled to capacity on each trip.

Everyone loves the drivers of the buses who become their friends and guides. One driver, Julie Dodd, tells of backing up the bus to allow someone running late to get on and having the person say, “You mean you care?” On another occasion a passenger getting on introduced her friend to her and then to the whole bus. The bus travellers responded warmly with “Hello Marie!” Julie also said that some older people give a sort of historical travelogue as the bus goes along, sharing memories of what used to be in various spots and of trips as young persons.

As Jane Rogers of South Sydney Community Transport says, “The City’s shuttle bus trial has shown there is strong demand for the Redfern to Glebe route which has catered for up to 70 passenger trips each day. Passengers not only use the Shuttle Bus to access local services such as the post office or shops but also to access the wider public transport network. This will now be significantly expanded with the new services. The ‘Village to Village’ shuttle buses have the potential to become part of an integrated network of bus services.”

Photo: Ali Blogg - Caption: Lord Mayor Clover Moore, Jane Rogers and driver Julie Dodd celebrate the new bus service

Source: South Sydney Herald March 2008 -