En route to regional bus service review

REVIEW: Monica Scriven, Peter Crowley, Clare Scriven, Mat and Kody O'Brien, and Wayne Sutherland all want to see public transport services in Murray Bridge. Photo: Dani Brown.
REVIEW: Monica Scriven, Peter Crowley, Clare Scriven, Mat and Kody O'Brien, and Wayne Sutherland all want to see public transport services in Murray Bridge. Photo: Dani Brown.

A review of all regional and township bus services across South Australia, including Murray Bridge and surrounds, is expected to be presented to State Parliament by October 30.

SA Labor's new Shadow Minister for Regional Development Clare Scriven put forward the proposal which passed the Upper House, despite the Liberals trying to resist the push.

Ms Scriven said the aim of the review was to ensure every regional community had access to adequate transport, and highlighted some of the issues people in Murray Bridge faced due to the lack of a direct public transport service to and from Adelaide.

She said various parts of the community would benefit from having affordable public transport within the town and directly to Adelaide, including university students, workers, people with medical appointments, and those who cannot drive or do not have a vehicle.

"Regional people deserve the same services as people in Adelaide," Ms Scriven said.

"We want to encourage people to move to regional centres, and basic public transport is a normal part of the community."

She hoped the report would reveal the best way to provide transport services for regional communities.

"The reality is that you need to be a car owner in regional South Australia because if you rely on public transport you simply will not get where you need to go," she said.

"It is a constraint on development in the Murray Bridge area, so it is vital that we look at improving options for regional residents."

Rural City of Murray Bridge councillor Mat O'Brien believed having a report compiled about the adequacy of transport services was too much to ask.

"I understand the government wants to know what services are needed and the cost ... but as ratepayers, we deserve the service," he said.

"I hope the government sees the sense and the benefit for the regions," he said.

REVIEW TIME: Rural City of Murray Bridge councillor Mat O'Brien and Shadow Minister for Regional Development Clare Scriven in Murray Bridge. Photo: Supplied.

REVIEW TIME: Rural City of Murray Bridge councillor Mat O'Brien and Shadow Minister for Regional Development Clare Scriven in Murray Bridge. Photo: Supplied.

Mr O'Brien said public transport services in Murray Bridge would clearly benefit the swiftly-growing region.

"There's heaps of people who would use it - it could open a world of opportunity for people who can't drive or don't own a car," he said.

"Younger people would use it for school and getting to jobs, and older people would use it for appointments." Cr O'Brien said a direct service between Adelaide and Murray Bridge would open the region for more visitors to experience what was on offer.

"Something like public transport could change the town for the better," he said.

He said it was important to ensure any public transport services for the town was affordable so it could be accessed by all pockets of the community.

"The private company is doing its job, but it's not affordable for a lot of people," he said.

Murray Bridge resident Peter Crowley said affordable public transport would provide more opportunities for more people in the area.

"Murray Bridge's mission statement is 'Thriving communities', and if we're going to be a thriving community, all the community needs to be catered for. Public transport is vital for a diverse community," he said.

Mr Crowley cannot drive due to medical reasons and has used the current bus service to get to Adelaide, but said it was an expensive task.

"It was noticeable that without an affordable service, people with a disability would be disadvantaged. The town deserves a lot better than that," he said.

"If we were to have a bus like the Metro Bus, it would be heavily subsidised."

Ms Scriven's motion requested the report be brought back to Parliament by October 30 this year.

"It is very disappointing that the Marshall Liberal government members opposed my proposal," she said.

"I am very pleased that it passed despite their lack of support, and I now look forward to the Parliament receiving the review report by the end of October."

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