Copy of Facebook post from Cr. Baberowski @4.40pm today:
I have today written to Minster Bailey outlining the implications of the cessation of Route 603 within Bellvista and the new Bus Route 606 to our community. I have done so because despite this being a state government responsibility, as the local Councillor I know the affected communities feel completely let down by Translink and the state government. I also know that as a community we have very little time to get the state to reconsider what I believe is a really poor decision.
To illustrate what I mean, in the justification provided by a representative of Translink last week, I was advised that ‘approximately 20 passengers per day will have an increased walk distance to access the service’. There was no demonstration of any understanding of the age demographics of the affected 20 passengers. Furthermore, the statement that ‘Route 606 was designed to replace the existing route 603 services between Caloundra and Baringa via Caloundra West, providing more flexible route options to support development as the area continues to grow’ does not offer any assurance that adversely affected communities have been engaged with on the basis of a loss of service.
Residents of all three communities – Bells Reach, Bellvista and Baringa – are aware of the financial contribution that Stockland have provided to Translink to help fund the provision of a new public bus service to Aura. However, the decision to reduce an existing service in order to establish another appears to the community and myself to be nothing more than a cost saving mechanism by Translink. If this is not the case, I have suggested that it is only fair and reasonable for the Minister to explain to the affected communities the reasons behind this decision. The rationale for the decision is even more questionable when you take into account that less than 6 months ago council delivered agreed upgrades to the existing bus stops/shelters around the Bellvista area.
As I have said before, my key concern is that the reduced Route 603 will now not service Bellvista and neither will the new Route 606. The change also does close to nothing to solve the pressing need for new/extra Buslink services for the Bellvista / Baringa school communities.
On behalf of the impacted residents and communities, I have requested through the Minister’s office that appropriate consultation and engagement be undertaken with the three communities of Bells Reach, Bellvista and Baringa on these service changes. I have also requested that the commencement date for the planned changes (ie. March 25) be immediately reviewed and that the existing Route 603 be maintained until a thorough and fair community engagement process takes place.
Cr Rick Baberowski.