A TRIAL run of the Monaro Transconnect bus service – which will link the Monaro to Canberra – has taken place with Bombala resident, John Vincent, giving the new service the thumbs up.
The route and schedule were checked by staff from Snowy River and Bombala Community Services who were joined by the newly appointed drivers for the project Steve Redden, Karen Hampshire and Joe Ippolito.
Also going along for the ride was Mr Vincent, making him Monaro Transconnect’s inaugural passenger.
The new service officially starts on Monday.
Mr Vincent took the opportunity to ride the Transconnect to visit his wife Anna at John James Hospital who has had a long stay at the hospital.
He has visited his wife regularly, staying for 3-4 hours each time.
So what did Mr Vincent have to say about his first journey on the Monaro Transconnect service?
Mr Vincent said the service took a lot of pressure off him to do the long drive into the ACT while dealing with the traffic.
“The four-hour round trip is exacerbated by the stress of seeing your wife in hospital; it is a long day and it is very tiring,” he said.
“It was wonderful not to have to worry about driving and putting the extra kilometres on your vehicle.”
He enjoyed meeting the different people on the bus and found it a great social opportunity.
The drive was pleasant and the trip went quickly.
Mr Vincent also believes the proposed fare system is cost-effective.
The Delegate Progress Association has also welcomed to new service.
Lack of public transport has always been a big issue for this area and it is something the association has raised at meetings on many occasions over a number of years.
Delegate and surrounding district has an ageing population and a trip to Canberra for medical reasons often causes great inconvenience, as although some seniors are still driving, a drive to Canberra is often beyond their capabilities and they have to depend on friends or relatives.
People can also take advantage of this service to spend a few hours in Cooma, while others who wish to have a longer stay in Canberra, may return on a different day.
Sylvia Wall from Jindabyne was very excited to hear about the Monaro Transconnect service when she visited Delegate last week to meet with representatives of the Delegate Progress Association.
Ms Wall, a former arts teacher in Bombala, said such a service has been desperately needed for a very long time.
In the past people have had to heavily rely on family and friends to provide transport, she said.
Ms Wall said that in the past if she had to get to Sydney she would have to drive to Cooma and then have somewhere safe to leave her vehicle and then catch the bus to link in with the XP service to Sydney.
At times this trip has also relied on catching the school bus into Cooma to link with other transport services.
Ms Wall said she looked forward to using the Transconnect service in the future.
Transconnect is a service for all people living independently in the communities of Snowy-River, Cooma-Monaro and Bombala local government areas.
It is intended to improve transport options for residents in these shires and to reduce transport disadvantage.
Passengers do not have to be frail aged or have a disability to use the service.
The service starts on Monday.
For further information contact Bombala Council Community Services 6458 4620.