The changes – which started yesterday – mean that the TrainLink, formerly CountryLink, service will go to Canberra via Jindabyne, in a move designed to improve services across the Snowy.
Passengers boarding in Bombala will need to depart more than an hour earlier than previously, and it will take two-a-half-hours to get to Cooma.
Bombala resident Ruth Allan-Meyer said she relied on the service to get her to Cooma for doctors’ appointments and the new arrangements would make the trip more difficult.
“I catch the bus once a month for appointments in Cooma,” Mrs Allan-Meyer said.
“It doesn’t sound like much and I have a full licence but I don’t like to drive the long distance to Cooma, and my children have asked me not to.”
Mrs Allan-Meyer, 86, also suffers from diabetes and is concerned that the early start and long trip to Cooma will affect her illness.
“I am a diabetic and I can’t consume food on the bus [so] I will need to get up at 4.30 in the morning and try and eat before the trip, Mrs Allan-Meyer said.
“I understand they are trying to improve the service for the Jindabyne residents but there was no community consultation.
“There have to be other alternatives, I’m just one person who is put out by the changes and there will be many more in the future if they don’t change it,” she said.
Member for Monaro, John Barilaro, said that he was fully aware some people in Bombala were not happy with the changes to the CountryLink bus service.
Mr Barilaro did not believe, however, that the new timetable should be abandoned before it had begun.
He said it would be grossly unfair to the people of the Snowy Mountains to deny them the same access to a service that the Bombala community had enjoyed.
“It needs to be remembered that the current NSW TrainLink service to Bombala is under patronised and was consequently at risk of closure,” Mr Barilaro said.
“The changes being introduced will greatly increase the number of passengers utilising the service, providing security into the future for the Bombala region.
“Whilst it is recognised that the expanded service may offer less convenience to some residents of Bombala, it will provide long-term security for the service.
“This change also makes it possible to expand the service to a seven- day service instead of a three-day service in the future.”
Mr Barilaro emphasised that the trial is only for 12 months and not a permanent arrangement.
“I have maintained from the start that I am very happy to take any concerns that are raised with me to the NSW Transport Minister which will be considered when finalising a permanent route,” he said.
“ I urge Bombala residents to give the new service a chance to be established before passing judgement over its suitability.
“There ought to be some consideration given to the intention behind the change which was to help open up
the service to a greater number of people.”