A new bus service is being rolled out in Bourke to allow on-demand public transport within the local government area.
Bourke Shire Council Mayor, Barry Hollman said better transport was a necessity due to the harsh contrast of year-round weather conditions, health conditions in the population, the Shire’s ageing population and distances between key facilities.
“Having the opportunity to use a safe, reliable mode of transport at an affordable price will increase participation at social, educational and sporting events by the simple fact those events are more accessible,” Mayor Hollman said.
“This new bus service will have positive outcomes for the residents and community of Bourke.”
The service is being funded by a $161,720 grant through Transport for NSW’s Transport Access Regional Partnerships (TARP) grant program in response to community feedback.
NSW Minister for Regional Transport and Roads, Sam Farraway said the bus service would provide an on-demand style transport service for travel within Bourke, to North Bourke, Alice Edwards Village and Bourke Airport.
“The NSW Liberal and Nationals Government will continue to provide better services to help make transport consistent, reliable, affordable and accessible for the Bourke community,” Mr Farraway said.
“The Liberal and Nationals Government believes that regional and remote communities deserve better public transport, which is why we have introduced more than 2,500 extra bus services across regional NSW.
“This is a win for this community that have been seeking better public transport options that is consistent, reliable, affordable and accessible.
“This new on-demand service will ensure that access to local shopping, social activities, important medical appointments, sporting engagements and employment is achievable and affordable for all.
“This service can also link with NSW TrainLink coaches to Dubbo, and to Bourke Airport where there’s a three-day-a-week return flight to Dubbo.”
Bourke resident, Jodie Dickson said it had been “eye-opening” when she moved from the Central Coast 14 months ago to see just how many people in Bourke don’t have cars to get to appointments or pick up supplies.
“Bourke is very remote. I work in the local pharmacy and there are services to pick up scripts – but not for everybody. The community here is quite disadvantaged, especially the elderly,” Mrs Dickson said.
“There are a lot of people who don’t have a car in Bourke, lots of people ride bikes or walk in the 42-degree heat. So this is a fantastic transport initiative.”
The new bus service will start on Monday 27 February and run from 8am to 7.30pm on Monday through to Friday, and 9am to 2pm on Saturday.
Fares start at $1.15 for concession card holders and children under 5 travel free when accompanied by a parent or carer.
It will run as a 12-month trial until February 2024, with the option of extending the program.