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Wheels Stop Turning for Local Bus Services

By Duncan Horscroft on September 26, 2018 in News

It’s been a while since the fleet was upgraded, by Con Ductor

Eastern Beaches residents are up in arms over the announcement that major bus services have been cancelled in their local areas and replaced with new routes.

The changes may force many people to walk further to find new bus stops on some routes and will add to the confusion already in place after the 378 and 440 Bronte buses were pulled without any community consultation.

Now there is a big push to reinstate the 378 after it was abandoned in 2015, as there is now no direct access to Central Station, forcing travellers to change

at Bondi Junction and wait for connections to areas such as Paddington and Darlinghurst.

The 440 Rozelle bus initially re- placed the 378 with no notification to locals, but was stopped in 2017 and replaced with the 379, which now goes from Bronte Beach to North Bondi via the Bondi Junction interchange.

It appears the brains trust at the state government thought it better to push local commuters through the Bondi Junction interchange and link up with the train or other bus services – not an easy task for the elderly, particularly if they have to negotiate getting on and off buses more than once with a walking frame or walking stick.

Waverley councillor Paula Masselos has been behind a big push to get the 378 back for Bronte residents and wants the NSW Gov- ernment to reinstate the service and reverse all cuts to public transport.

“Commuters now have almost an hour a day added to their com- mute, or are forced to change at an already congested and dangerous interchange,” she said.

“Our elderly and infirm residents no longer have a single bus trip to St Vincent’s Hospital and many of our schoolchildren no longer have a single trip to their schools in inner city areas.”

At a public meeting earlier this year, locals vented their anger against the changes and more than 1000 people have already signed a petition that is currently circulating and that will be put to the state parliament.

Late last year the Eastern Suburbs was part of an on-demand bus service trial by a private provider that was funded to the tune of $20 million by the government.

This service failed and was replaced in August by the BRIDJ on-demand private transport service, which is running in the western suburbs and accessed only by an app on a phone or computer.

Interestingly, the American-based BRIDJ failed in the US and the company wound down, but it has now brought its technology to Australia and teamed up with Transport for NSW and private bus operator Transit Systems in another pilot program with the NSW Government.

As well as the 378 and 440 services from Bronte, the 389 (from Bondi to Bondi Junction) and 327 services have been cancelled in the Bondi and Darling Point areas. And as of September 23, the 382, 361, x79 and x84 – which all go to Bondi Junction – have also been taken out, and changes to the L24, 380 and 381 will mean some pas- sengers will need to walk more than 100 metres to their new bus stop.

It’s been well documented that the State Transit Authority wants to privatise bus services in the west and it certainly looks like the Eastern Suburbs is in line to suffer the same fate. For more information, email bringbackthe378@gmail.com.

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