Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Buggy returns to Seymour railway station

Agitation finally pays off with return of mobility aid.

CHALPAT SONTI June 11, 2014 3:06am

The buggy will soon be back at Seymour railway station.

The buggy is back.

Several years of agitation has finally got the machine pictured on right back in business at Seymour railway station from September — now it just needs some volunteers to help with its operation.

It was lost to the station when the north-east line closed in 2008 but didn’t return when the latter re-opened.

The movement for its return — particularly to help passengers with limited mobility — wasn’t lost on State Member for Seymour Cindy McLeish.

‘‘It became pretty evident it was a very valued service,’’ she said.

‘‘I heard a lot about it, even when I’d be in Yea or somewhere like that people would always ask me why the buggy wasn’t running at Seymour. It was valued and I must thank the people who have made this happen.’’

Apart from Ms McLeish raising the matter, groups like Mitchell Shire Council, Travellers Aid and Community Access have all played their part.

Mitchell Shire Mayor Rodney Parker said it was fantastic to get the buggy back.

‘‘It’s funny how the simple ideas work best,’’ he said.

V/Line’s Johnathan McEwan said the company ‘‘had listened to the customers’’.

‘‘We know there was a big outcry to get this back,’’ he said.

Community Accessibility general manager Helen Vey said her organisation had a long history of helping community members get to medical and social outings and advised V/Line on the best way to provide the buggy service.

‘‘We promote social wellbeing and independence through our volunteer network and recognise the vital role community members play, particularly around mobility,’’ she said.

Travellers Aid acting chief executive Elias Lebbos said his organisation’s mission was to help travellers.

‘‘We have experience training volunteers to accompany regional travellers in central Melbourne, so using our experience to help V/Line solve this problem around accessibility was very satisfying.’’ Mr Lebbos said.

The service will cost V/Line and Public Transport Victoria about $35000 to set up and have annual running costs of about $140000.

Ms McLeish said volunteers were needed to drive the buggy.

‘‘This is a really meaningful way to become involved in this community,’’ she said.

The buggy will operate on weekdays between 10am and 6.30pm. People interested in volunteering to drive the buggy should contact Margaret Canny at Community Accessibility’s Seymour office on 57992965. Full training will be provided.

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