Adelaide’s free City Connector bus service is under review. Council calls to community for advice to keep the service alive. (Image source: Adelaide Now)
By Gabrielle Torpey |@gabrielletorpey
The City Connector bus service is currently under review by the State Government and Adelaide City Council.
The free public bus service, co-funded by State Government and Adelaide City Council, runs on two loops with an inner-city loop and an extended loop around North Adelaide.
As early as last year State Government warned funding for the service was going to be halved with plans for the new free tram services in the CBD well under way.
Transport Minister Stephan Knoll recently voiced his intentions to terminate funding entirely by the end of June, roughly three and a half years before it is set to expire.
City Council remains divided on the issue however it appears that more members would rather keep the free bus service than see it completely removed.
Deputy Lord Mayor Alexander Hyde said while the free tram service ‘does sound promising’ he is concerned about changes to the free bus service, he told InDaily.
“I really wouldn’t want to disenfranchise the vulnerable in the community from being able to access this service,” he said.
“There’s a lot of at-risk people and vulnerable or homeless people that use the service … so we wouldn’t want to disenfranchise them either by having another barrier to access the public transport.”
The free bus service is dependent on the State Government’s co-funding: without it, City Council will struggle to keep the service running.
Cancellation however, could mean City Council saves over $910,000 by next financial year. Council members remain tempted especially since the council must find $4.5 million in savings over the next two financial years to prevent future deficit.
To avoid a clash with the new free tram services in the CBD, the Department for Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI) suggested a new route for the bus service that runs every 20 minutes on an ‘out-and-back’ route through the centre of North Adelaide to Victoria Square.
The suggested route removes a majority of free bus transport within North Adelaide with Montefiore Road, Jerningham Street and King William Road all scratched.
Area councillor Robert Simms criticised the new city connector bus route, saying the council needed to “push back on the Minister regarding plans to cut the service,” he told InDaily.
“When we don’t have that other investment in alternative green transport options, a free, well-resourced city connector bus is really important.”
Residents of Aquinas College in North Adelaide have since signed a petition and forwarded it to the State Government and City Council, saying that it is the only free public transport from the City to North Adelaide.
Resident Lily Bersee said the removal of the service would be a major inconvenience to herself and other residents who heavily rely on the service.
“I take it to go to uni and doctors’ appointments. I don’t have a car so especially when it’s too hot or when it’s raining it’s an essential transport system as sometimes I don’t have the money or time to top up my metro card,” she said.
Area councillor Rob Simms said a State Government funding cut to the City Connector bus would be a ‘very concerning outcome’.
“If anything, it should be expanded not cut,” he said.
State Member for Adelaide Rachel Sanderson recently sent an email to residents in North Adelaide seeking community feedback that will help assist with the council’s upcoming decision.
You can email your opinions through email@example.com or call on (08) 8269 1838.
Alternatively you can fill out the form and voice your opinion.