MEDIA RELEASE - Promised new bus services can't come quickly enough

Maitland MP Jenny Aitchison has welcomed news that better bus services in the fast-growing Chisholm area have been earmarked for an extended route and additional services, but says delivery of the improvements cannot come quickly enough.

Ms Aitchison has long advocated for Maitland’s public transport infrastructure to keep pace with its booming population. She recently received positive news on the subject after writing to the Minister for Regional Transport and Roads on behalf of Chisholm mother-of-three Sandy Freeman – one of many parents in the area whose family desperately needs improved services.

“I’ve been advised by the office of the Minister for Regional Transport and Roads that the NSW Government has made a four-year commitment to introduce 14,000 additional weekly services across NSW, and enhancements to route 189 are part of that commitment,” Ms Aitchison said.

“That election promise is almost a year-and-a-half old now and it’s time for the Minister to deliver.”

Ms Freeman, who is a mother of twins who have special needs, contacted Ms Aitchison in May to express concerns that a bus trip required her children to face a long, difficult, distressing and dangerous walk halfway across Harvest Estate after school.

“My children have started at Metford Public School,” Ms Freeman said. “We are not entitled to any drive-to-school funding because their disabilities are not severe enough, and we aren’t funded by the transport subsidy because, as the crow flies, we are too close to the school.

“And that measurement does not take into account that there is a railway line between school and home with no pedestrian access.”

Ms Aitchison said that, while she felt the most-recent advice showed there was relief on the horizon, it couldn’t come fast enough for families such as the Freemans’.

“The Government went to the last election promising extra services across the state if they were elected, and Route 189 was one of those listed for additional funding,” Ms Aitchison said.

“Maitland’s incredible growth rate demands that the NSW Government continually monitor and assess available bus services to ensure they are meeting the community’s needs”, she said.