Tag listing: Buses

Bus shortfall

The lack of public transport in areas throughout the Hills affects a wide variety of people.
Everyone from working parents to the elderly and young people would benefit from an increase in services, so it’s encouraging to see the Mt Barker Council picking up the issue.
Public transport is expensive to run, even more so in the country when taking into account sparse populations and long distances, so it’s understandable that bringing in extra services to the Hills could be difficult for the State Government to justify.
However, it’s not just a numbers game.
The government needs to accept that it has a social responsibility to provide a basic level of public transport services to those who need it.
Macclesfield is just one example of a small community which appears to be poorly serviced.
The town has one weekday bus service to Aldgate through Meadows and Echunga which operates from 7-7.30am and from 4.30-7pm.
The fact that there is no service during the day or on weekends and none linking Macclesfield to Mt Barker highlights the need for a review.
Young people in Macclesfield simply have no way to get to Mt Barker, unless their parents are able and willing to drive them.
Towns such as Meadows, Echunga and, to a lesser extent, Nairne and Hahndorf, suffer similar service shortfalls.
As highlighted by the council, the current provision of Hills services seem to be targeted towards getting people in and out of the city.
While this is an important and well-used route, intra-town buses linking smaller centres with the regional hub of Mt Barker are just as essential.
The buses don’t have to be big or even very frequent.
A couple of services a day linking Macclesfield to Mt Barker, perhaps through Echunga and Meadows, would go a long way to appeasing concerns.
A complete overhaul of Hills services is not required, instead a subtle approach to some specific problems could result in significant improvements.
The new, tougher P-plate laws, which place a cap on passenger numbers and enforce night-time driving restrictions, may well save lives, but they will cause problems in the country for young people unless they are matched with improved public transport options.
sTaxis can also be hard to find in the Hills, limiting options even further.
Hopefully Transport Services Minister Chloe Fox hears the council’s concerns and investigates ways to make improvements.

Traffic problem

Anyone walking down Flaxley Road outside Mt Barker High School at 3.15pm on a school day would see exactly why concerns are being raised about the safety of pedestrians, motorists and bus drivers.
With buses unable to pull completely off the road when picking up and dropping off students, the chaotic situation has become a recipe for disaster.
A constant flow of cars, buses and trucks squeeze through the restricted space and are often forced to drive off the road onto the gravel.
The school has done the right thing by instructing the bus drivers to park at that point so students do not have to cross the busy road to get to and from school.
However, some students do have to cross the road if walking home to houses on the other side of Flaxley Road, or to their parent’s car waiting to pick them up.
With no pedestrian crossing they have to wait for a break in the traffic and are often forced to run across the road, putting their safety at risk.
The situation seems to have evolved over time without much planning and it has now reached the point where it needs to become more structured.
The responsibility lies with the State Government, which has promised to work with the school to find a solution.
A pedestrian refuge point or a crossing needs to be constructed, and a small amount of landscaping work to allow the buses to pull entirely off the road would make a big difference to the flow of traffic.
It really is a minor amount of work to solve a potentially deadly situation and prompt action is essential.

Neighborhood risk

Overgrown vacant blocks in townships and neglected rural properties are the bane of their neighbors.
It is discouraging to do the right thing leading up to the fire danger season when the fire fuel load next door is just building up.
Not only does it increase the risk of a fire obtaining a foothold on your doorstep, these neglected parcels increase the chances of snakes, vermin and weeds coming onto your property and they send the wrong message to the community.
It’s frustrating but residents should keep in mind that landholders have until December 1 to clean-up their properties.
The danger these blocks pose should also be kept in perspective.
We live amongst native vegetation and a neatly clipped neighbor does not negate the threat of that fuel load during a major bushfire on a catastrophic day.
Everyone needs to have an action plan for that eventuality.

Wine decision

The plan by the State Government to allow bottled wine to be sold by large supermarkets was always going to end badly.
Thankfully this has been recognised by Deputy Premier John Rau and the decision to abandon the proposal means an unpleasant chapter in SA’s retail history has been avoided.
The dominance of the two largest retail giants – Coles and Woolworths – has had an increasingly concerning influence on the retail landscape for several years.
The power they wield has been well documented as has the rising community uncertainty about their status.
Allowing such supermarkets to sell bottled wine was clearly going to drive smaller liquor shops out of business and would never have given smaller boutique wineries a foothold in the mainstream market, as it was claimed.
That is simply not the way these retail giants operate.
The State Government should be commended for its change of heart.

Lack of transport

Lack of public transport is a recurring complaint in the Hills.
Usually it is the case that the further out residents live, the greater the problem of access – but not necessarily.
Significant sections of the foothills close to Adelaide are now dormitory suburbs filled with Adelaide commuters.
Norton Summit is a prime example.
The beautiful little town is not populated by market gardeners and farmers anymore, and the State Government needs to recognise that financially inconvenient fact.
Whether good planning or not, the areas around Norton Summit, Teringie and Greenhill have become spacious urban fringes and it’s not unreasonable for locals to expect a basic commuter service.
It has a bus service to Norwood/Morialta High School – provided through the transport department but funded by the education department – so residential demand exists.
For the transport department to claim it needs to take into account “demand based on existing bus timetables” before considering adding a loop via Norton Summit and Old Norton Summit roads is ludicrous.
If there is no bus service, no-one can use it. Perhaps if the Government adequately consulted, advertised and trialled a morning and evening service, it might find that the commuters would come. It might even ease some pressure on the Crafers park n ride if the service appealed to workers heading to the eastern side of the city.

Forum drives home a message

Overcrowding on buses, inadequate services to outlying areas and overflowing park n rides are just some of the problems plaguing public transport in the Hills, according to locals.

Action on bus park overflow

Timed parking will be introduced this month on a Mt Barker road after traders petitioned the town’s council for the change to stop bus commuters taking up customer carparks.

Parking problems

Human nature being what it is, we often don’t tend to make a concerted effort to fix a problem until we absolutely must.

Overcrowded bus hub causes parking problems

Mt Barker business owners are fed up with bus commuters using their carparks for all day parking, taking spots away from customers and abusing traders when asked to move.

Overcrowding issue solution

A local bus operator has suggested State Transport Services Minister Chloe Fox use his company for extra services to combat overcrowding on Hills buses.

Speed cameras

Speeding trucks and overcrowded buses have provided plenty of fodder for The Courier’s letters to the editor page this month, highlighting the depth of motorists’ concerns about traffic problems along the freeway.

MP says students ‘second-class citizens’

Hills students catching buses to schools outside the region are being treated like “second-class citizens”, according to Shadow Transport Minister Vickie Chapman.