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Dunne demands return of Belconnen bus services

By Michael Reid - 9 May 2016 10

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Vicki Dunne has demanded the ACT government restore Belconnen bus services in the interests of elderly residents.

The Speaker of the ACT Legislative Assembly and the Liberal member for Ginninderra tabled a petition on Monday calling for ACTION bus services and covered stops to be restored on Burkitt Street in Page.

Residents of nearby retirement villages relied on these discontinued services, according to Dunne.

“The removal of the bus routes and shelters along Burkitt Street undermines lifestyle, independence, well-being, self-esteem and flexibility for our ageing residents,” she said.

“There are three retirement villages along Burkitt Street. Between them they accommodate about 300 self-care residents, many of whom rely on transport services to attend to their day-to-day activities. These services are also important for residents’ social inclusion in the community.

“The government has told residents that they can catch the so-called flexible bus service.

“However, often it’s not practical because passengers need to book two days in advance.

“The government also says they can catch the community buses offered by their retirement villages, but they are generally for group outings, not for individuals to go shopping or to a medical appointment or to visit friends. Other community transport options are expensive, which only contributes to the isolation many older people endure.

“On top of the services, the government has removed the covered shelters along the street, often used by local seniors as rest points when they go for a walk. The government has called these changes ‘improvements’.

“If these are ‘improvements’ I would not like to see their definition of ‘deterioration’.”

 

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10 Responses to
Dunne demands return of Belconnen bus services
wildturkeycanoe 7:42 am 12 May 16

Mordd said :

Mysteryman said :

Doesn’t ACTION have small (15-seater?) buses that I have seen around and about with the ACTION logo on the side? Is this what Vickie Dunne is talking about?

I am sure that people in the retirement villages would be able to organise themselves if there was an ACTION bus available, say, twice a week to take them to the mall (and return) at a certain time, for the cost of a gold coin. They would probably need to make a booking. Medical appointments can be covered by other resources.

What’s the difference between planning in advance to take a twice-a-week service and planning 48 hours in advance to book the flexi bus? Isn’t that the same thing? In which case they have an option they can already use, they just don’t like the 48hr booking window, so that’s what the complaint is really about here.

Exactly! You can’t plan a doctor’s appointment usually without a day or so notice so you have ample time to organise transport as well. They do know that there is a bulk billed home doctor service available too, so they do not need to go anywhere to get medical attention.

As for shopping, if it is so urgent that you have to go that day instead of waiting for a regular bi-weekly trip, then you can get a taxi. How far is it to Westfield from there? About $12 by according to their fare calculator. For an urgent trip, this isn’t a huge inconvenience. Do these folks also not have relatives or friends that can take them shopping?

Maybe I should petition for a bus to go past my place too for my doctor’s appointments and shopping trips, seeing I have a disability and it is 350m to the nearest stop. Who cares if it isn’t cost effective and will drain even more of the territory’s funds, as long as I get what I want for free?

miz 8:39 am 11 May 16

People in aged care/retirement facilities are still people and public transport services should cater for them just as it does for everyone else. It is likely that one of the factors swinging a decision to move to those facilities was the regular public bus service.
Personally I think this is ageism.

dungfungus 8:34 am 11 May 16

Mysteryman said :

Doesn’t ACTION have small (15-seater?) buses that I have seen around and about with the ACTION logo on the side? Is this what Vickie Dunne is talking about?

I am sure that people in the retirement villages would be able to organise themselves if there was an ACTION bus available, say, twice a week to take them to the mall (and return) at a certain time, for the cost of a gold coin. They would probably need to make a booking. Medical appointments can be covered by other resources.

As far as I am aware, the small Action buses you refer to are only used for dedicated services such as transporting people with special needs from their residences to special schools etc.
Hey, wait a minute, don’t the people subject of this post have special needs also?

gooterz 11:51 pm 10 May 16

Why not pick a day like Wednesday and just run the extra buses on those days.

Pick the quietest day of the week and put extra services on. Make certain routes free to encourage people to take the bus on those extra services.

No point doing a 5 day a week bus service for something that can be packed on 1 day and not exist on the other days.

Mordd 10:42 pm 10 May 16

Mysteryman said :

Doesn’t ACTION have small (15-seater?) buses that I have seen around and about with the ACTION logo on the side? Is this what Vickie Dunne is talking about?

I am sure that people in the retirement villages would be able to organise themselves if there was an ACTION bus available, say, twice a week to take them to the mall (and return) at a certain time, for the cost of a gold coin. They would probably need to make a booking. Medical appointments can be covered by other resources.

What’s the difference between planning in advance to take a twice-a-week service and planning 48 hours in advance to book the flexi bus? Isn’t that the same thing? In which case they have an option they can already use, they just don’t like the 48hr booking window, so that’s what the complaint is really about here.

dustytrail 3:38 pm 10 May 16

Doesn’t ACTION have small (15-seater?) buses that I have seen around and about with the ACTION logo on the side? Is this what Vickie Dunne is talking about?

I am sure that people in the retirement villages would be able to organise themselves if there was an ACTION bus available, say, twice a week to take them to the mall (and return) at a certain time, for the cost of a gold coin. They would probably need to make a booking. Medical appointments can be covered by other resources.

JC 2:44 pm 10 May 16

dungfungus said :

Can these residents not catch the bus on Ratcliffe Crescent which is only a few hundred meters away? Resuming services that only cater, in your own words, “for individuals to go shopping or to a medical appointment” would not be financially viable. The nursing homes obviously can’t afford to run their own bus service to cater for these individual needs so how is a publicly funded service expected to do so? The bus would be running empty all the time, unless another service was re-routed to take up this option, which I guess is an option, unless it won’t work due to the existing scheduling. The 14 or 314 would be the only suitable option but it already has a long winded trek all the way out to Dunlop, so would be unsuitable for yet another detour.
Now this petition was only signed by about 100 residents. The revenue from these retirement village passengers in all likelihood would be practically zero because they get free transport with the concession for travel. Who is going to pay to make this service possible?

As the retirement villages already rake in these residents’ life savings, it’d be only proper for them to provide a transport solution suitable to their needs, instead of relying on the public purse to cater for them. The bus is already there and well and truly paid for so why not use it? I would be directing this petition to the wealthy owners of the nursing home, instead of burdening taxpayers with another welfare subsidy.

They used to run a special service a couple of times a day that covered this area as well as parts of Macquarie and Hawker (shops). No reason why they couldn’t continue using the special needs buses or the small darts that sit unused most of the day if need be.

It is a real issue that retirement villages and dedicated homes for the elderly are put in places that are not served by buses or the routes get changed.

My old mum lives in the government housing complex built specifically for the elderly and disabled on the corner of Catchpole Street and Belconnen Way. With the removal of these special buses the nearest bus stops at the Belconnen Mall (which is a mongrel to walk to from Belconnen Way for an oldie), or Jamo. Two of the locations that an oldie would want to go to, but for many, too far to walk to.

dungfungus 2:10 pm 10 May 16

dungfungus said :

Can these residents not catch the bus on Ratcliffe Crescent which is only a few hundred meters away? Resuming services that only cater, in your own words, “for individuals to go shopping or to a medical appointment” would not be financially viable. The nursing homes obviously can’t afford to run their own bus service to cater for these individual needs so how is a publicly funded service expected to do so? The bus would be running empty all the time, unless another service was re-routed to take up this option, which I guess is an option, unless it won’t work due to the existing scheduling. The 14 or 314 would be the only suitable option but it already has a long winded trek all the way out to Dunlop, so would be unsuitable for yet another detour.
Now this petition was only signed by about 100 residents. The revenue from these retirement village passengers in all likelihood would be practically zero because they get free transport with the concession for travel. Who is going to pay to make this service possible?

As the retirement villages already rake in these residents’ life savings, it’d be only proper for them to provide a transport solution suitable to their needs, instead of relying on the public purse to cater for them. The bus is already there and well and truly paid for so why not use it? I would be directing this petition to the wealthy owners of the nursing home, instead of burdening taxpayers with another welfare subsidy.

“A few hundred metres away” is supposed to be the standard for catching a tram, isn’t it?
Maybe Transport Canberra can watch this space closely.
Also, there are late evening Action buses travelling between Chisholm and Erindale/Woden every day.
Rarely have any passengers on board.
Why isn’t the “public purse” rule applied to these services as well?

Genie 11:22 am 10 May 16

There is a medical centre at one of these retirement villages, that only caters for residents.

wildturkeycanoe 7:33 am 10 May 16

Can these residents not catch the bus on Ratcliffe Crescent which is only a few hundred meters away? Resuming services that only cater, in your own words, “for individuals to go shopping or to a medical appointment” would not be financially viable. The nursing homes obviously can’t afford to run their own bus service to cater for these individual needs so how is a publicly funded service expected to do so? The bus would be running empty all the time, unless another service was re-routed to take up this option, which I guess is an option, unless it won’t work due to the existing scheduling. The 14 or 314 would be the only suitable option but it already has a long winded trek all the way out to Dunlop, so would be unsuitable for yet another detour.
Now this petition was only signed by about 100 residents. The revenue from these retirement village passengers in all likelihood would be practically zero because they get free transport with the concession for travel. Who is going to pay to make this service possible?

As the retirement villages already rake in these residents’ life savings, it’d be only proper for them to provide a transport solution suitable to their needs, instead of relying on the public purse to cater for them. The bus is already there and well and truly paid for so why not use it? I would be directing this petition to the wealthy owners of the nursing home, instead of burdening taxpayers with another welfare subsidy.

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