The Geelong Branch of the Public Transport Users Association has called on all candidates for the City of Greater Geelong council to declare their support for the return of a bus interchange to Moorabool Street.
Branch convenor Paul Westcott said Geelong voters had a right to know if their councillors were going to stand in the way of long-overdue improvements to Geelong’s local public transport system.
Mr Westcott said the outgoing council had almost certainly set an embarrassing world record by presiding over a drop in Geelong’s public transport patronage after the removal of the bus interchange from Moorabool Street.
“It would be very hard to find a city anywhere that hasn’t seen a significant surge in public transport patronage in recent years, due to high petrol prices, traffic congestion and concern about the environment, but in Geelong we managed to go backwards,” Mr Westcott said.
It is now more than three years since the Moorabool Street interchange was removed due to road works, and it has not been restored despite the promise that the relocation was “temporary”. Mr Westcott said the scattering of city bus stops had confused passengers, slowed down trips and made it more difficult to change between bus services.
The state government, the Department of Transport, public transport users and many Moorabool Street traders have called for a bus interchange to be re-established in Moorabool Street, but there has been continuing resistance from some elements in the Council.
“Any candidate who doesn’t want to have a central bus interchange returned to Moorabool Street should declare it to the voters and also tell us their alternative plan for promoting public transport use,” Mr Westcott concluded.