The City of Greater Geelong Council has stalled again on approving the location of Geelong’s central bus interchange, blocking $80 million of State Government funding for improvements to the whole bus system.
At its meeting on Tuesday night, the Council deferred, for the second time, any decision to approve the recommendation of council officers to return bus stops to the preferred Moorabool Street site.
The Geelong Branch convener of the Public Transport Users Association, Paul Westcott, slammed the Council for the further delay. “Some councillors seem to be pandering to a few Moorabool Street traders at the expense of over two hundred thousand residents of the Geelong region.”
“The irony is that these traders are acting against their own best interests and those of central Geelong as a whole. A compact bus interchange would be a shot in the arm for the struggling Moorabool street shopping strip, which has clearly gone downhill since buses were removed almost four years ago”, Mr Westcott said.
“What’s more, an effective public transport system, with bus stops that people can easily find, will go a long way towards solving central Geelong’s parking problems.”
In December last year, the State Government promised $80 million dollars over the next decade to completely overhaul Geelong’s bus services, but this depends on the Council re-establishing a central bus interchange. The former interchange was “temporarily” removed by Council in 2005 to allow for the re-construction of Moorabool Street.
Mr Westcott said that Council must endorse the Moorabool Street location that has been recommended by the engineering consultants, and allow the Department of Transport to get on with making the planned improvements which the whole bus system so vitally needs.
“It’s time for the Council to display some leadership and demonstrate a genuine commitment to its own policy of promoting alternatives to car use,” he concluded.