The Port Macquarie Branch of Country Labor, met with senior executives of Busways to discuss the Proposed Bus Network for Port Macquarie and the Hastings regarding the proposals for the change of routes.
The meeting discussed the joint submission from the Port Macquarie Country Labor Branch and Mrs Barbara Grant-Curtis.
Representing Busways was Andrew Glass, Group Services Development Manager, Greg Buckley, Group Scheduling Manager and Clayton Davidson, Group Services General Manager. During the meeting Andrew Glass spoke about the process of consultation and was pleased with the response from the Port Macquarie and Hastings area with nearly 400 submissions received regarding the proposed changes.
Mr Glass advised the meeting that each submission would be carefully analysed and a final decision would be made after Busways had met with the Port Macquarie Hastings Council.
One of the major issues raised by Country Labor was the bus service to and from Port Macquarie to the Wauchope rail station. This is an inadequate service for people living in Port Macquarie who need transport from Port Macquarie to Wauchope to connect with Countrylink rail services.
There are only two dedicated Countrylink services per day which provide transport from Port Macquarie.
The first is the 10 am Grafton to Sydney train and the second is the Sydney to Grafton service which arrives at Wauchope at 6.15 pm. Busways management advised the meeting that they have met with Countrylink requesting that a Busways service meets all the daylight hours trains arriving at Wauchope.
The unacceptable behaviour of Countrylink in not agreeing to Busways proposal is that a bus is run from Port Macquarie to Wauchope to drop passengers to join the 10 am service to Sydney but allows the bus to return to Port Macquarie empty when it could wait to meet travelers alighting from the train.
People wishing to travel from the north of the state to Port Macquarie are unable to access transportation that links up with a service to Port Macquarie.
Port Macquarie Branch of Country Labor will be making representations to Countrylink to ensure that the additional services become a reality. They will also be asking for the support of community organizations such as the Tourist Body, Chamber of Commerce, Port Macquarie Hastings Council and the pensioners association.
Country Labor candidate for the local government elections, Colleen Carmody, said this is an issue that the Port Macquarie Hastings Council should be supporting.
On Wednesday 1 August, Port Macquarie Branch of Country Labor will be hosting a visit by the Shadow Minister for Transport, the Hon Penny Sharpe, MLC, will be launching a petition to ensure that Countrylink stays in public hands and not be privatized as has been mentioned by the present O'Farrell state government.
The Petition will be available for signing at the Country Labor office at 157 Gordon Street, Port Macquarie.
The Country Labor Port Macquarie Branch asserts that the residents of Port Macquarie are being disciminated by Countrylink inasmuch as they will not agree to support bus transportation from Port Macquarie to Wauchope and back again.