Murray Mallee Community transport fleet expands

Ready to roll: Murray Mallee Community Passenger Network coordinatior Sam Hicks is pleased to get the new vehicles on the road. Photo - supplied.
Ready to roll: Murray Mallee Community Passenger Network coordinatior Sam Hicks is pleased to get the new vehicles on the road. Photo - supplied.

The purchase of two new vehicles has expanded the service delivery capacity of the Murray Mallee Community Passenger Network (MMCPN) in the Mallee and Coorong regions.

The service, operated by the Tailem Bend Community Centre for the past 18 months, delivers options to eligible people who are transport disadvantaged.

TBCC chief executive officer Tammy Shepherd said the organisation had been working towards the purchases since it won the contract to operate the service.

'We cover a huge geographical area, delivering services throughout six local government areas, where there is very little public transport available," Ms Shepherd said.

"Our vulnerable and disadvantaged community members need to be able to access medical care and attend appointments, and the demand for this is significant, and continues to grow."

The service offers two types of transport, depending on where consumers live and their circumstances.

The first is the medical bus, which operates Monday to Friday, travelling from Keith to Adelaide, collecting people from major towns on the way, including Tintinara, Tailem Bend and Murray Bridge.

Ms Shepherd said the medical bus was the most affordable option for clients.

"This is a vital community service, offering affordable medical transport to major Adelaide hospitals and medical facilities, for as little as $27 return, from Murray Bridge," she said.

"Importantly, it collects people directly from their homes in these towns along the major route."

If people have appointments that can not meet the schedule of the medical bus, the MMCPN offers Community Passenger Network (CPN) vehicles.

'We have a wonderful community of dedicated, volunteer drivers, who give their time to drive people to their appointments in comfortable vehicles, with COVID-19 safety protocols in place," Ms Shepherd said.

"Although more expensive than the bus, the cars are vital to meeting all the varied needs of our clients."

The purchase of new vehicles will allow the MMCPN to have one of its cars permanently placed in Lameroo, where demand for services has boomed.

Ms Shepherd hopes to ease the demands placed on hospitals in the area with patient transports, and has already begun planning for another vehicle to be purchased for the Meningie region.

'We rely heavily on the contribution of our wonderful volunteer drivers, who are very generous with their time," she said.

"I would encourage anyone looking to contribute to the community to consider becoming a driver - it is a very rewarding role, and our volunteers tell me the most attractive aspect is there are no rosters, so they are not locked into a commitment."

Funding for the vehicles was obtained through the South Australian Department of Human Services and the Department of Health.

- Details: For more information phoneTBCC on 8572 3513 or MMCPN on 8572 3513, email mmcpnco@tbcc.org.au or visit https://www.murraymalleecpn.org.au/