Visitors to the Portsea polo event at Point Nepean National Park last Saturday were cheated by the poor quality and over-priced public transport service offered, according to the Public Transport Users Association (PTUA).
PTUA spokesman Jeremy Lunn said people wanting to travel by bus to the polo event from Sorrento to Point Nepean National Park were not allowed to use the regular public transport service.
The PTUA received reports of passengers being denied access to the regular 788 bus by drivers and instead being forced to board “special” buses organised for the day which cost them $10. If they had been allowed to use the regular bus service, it would have cost them only $2.20 (or $1.10 concession).
Furthermore, about 60 polo patrons had to cram on to one of the special buses at Portsea as the regular 788 bus drove straight past.
Mr Lunn noted that the special buses seemed to be provided by the Portsea Passenger Service, the same company that provides the regular public transport buses.
“The mess was further worsened by the fact that the polo patrons were told on the event website  that ‘… the normal (788) bus service from Rosebud to Portsea will operate throughout the day’.” Mr Lunn said.
Point Nepean National Park is an outstanding tourist destination which attracts about 55,000 visitors every year. The polo event has become a regular fixture there in January.
“The poor quality service means that hardly any visitors travel to the park by public transport,” Mr Lunn said. “Unfortunately, the situation will get even worse at the end of January, when the summer timetable concludes, and Saturday and Sunday services revert to running every seventy-five minutes rather than 45 minutes.”
“That is a hopeless situation which contributes to greater car use and increased road congestion in an area renowned for its outstanding natural beauty.
Mr Lunn said that the State Government must provide and promote 15 minutes service frequencies on the 788 route, particularly during the holiday and peak periods.