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Lack of interest in new Berrigan Shire bus service

A lack of interest will see the Berrigan Shire Community Connect Service Bus Service drawn back, as of tomorrow.

December 19, 2012 4:17am

Based on use during a three-month trial, Berrigan Shire has decided to cancel the Thursday service indefinitely.

The Friday service will continue as an extended trial, however will not run this Friday.

Berrigan Shire Council Youth Development Committee member Jo Ruffin said despite a promising start, it was disappointing to see interest in the service drop off.

She said the bus service was designed to connect communities, and provide an alternate transport option for residents of all ages.

The Thursday service provided residents of Berrigan with a bus connecting them to Cobram’s Country Link and V/Line Services while residents of Barooga, Tocumwal and Finley were offered additional transport options between Southern Riverina towns and Cobram.

‘‘Passenger numbers were initially good with up to 20 passengers taking advantage of the service,’’ Ms Ruffin said.

‘‘Moreover, contrary to all expectations, those who used the bus did not travel to Cobram to connect with regional services or to shop, but used the bus to catch up with friends and family living in other towns.

‘‘As one person put it, it was ‘just to get out of the house’.

‘‘Disappointingly the Thursday service has received limited support in terms of passenger numbers or feedback on how it could be improved.’’

Ms Ruffin said that the decision to ‘‘cease the Thursday Service and concentrate on the Youth Service’’ shows there is insufficient demand for a community bus during school terms and weekdays.

Despite the Thursday service being abandoned, Ms Ruffin said Berrigan Shire would continue with the Friday Youth Service Pilot.

Funded by the NSW Dept of Transport and Berrigan Shire Council, it will have a short break this week and return as normal on Friday, December 28.

It will run as per the Friday timetable released at the start of the pilot project. The bus timetable and a youth information card has been distributed to local youth by Berrigan Shire.

The card lists local and free call numbers of youth support services, which can be used long after the pilot program is complete.

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