Let’s be frank, Albury Wodonga has never had a public transport system. If you’ve never had something, it’s rather difficult to miss it. Maybe that explains why more people aren’t screaming in outrage at the sub-standard system we now have.
What we have had since time immemorial is a “privatised bus service” which has always been more about making money for it’s owners than about providing quality, low-cost transport to the people of Albury Wodonga.
Martin’s proud claim to have been “serving the public since 1932” is in fact an ignominious indictment of the tendering process.
Worse, the operators of Martins insist on utilising massively over-sized vehicles, and operating fewer services as a result.
The Dean street terminal is nothing short of filthy, it’s like waiting for a bus in a greasy ashtray scented with unwashed backside.
Apparently the current water restrictions are such that the Dean Street
tip shelter can’t even be hosed out. It seems all the shelter in effect does is keep the rain from washing the site clean once in a while.
Personally I’ve ridden commuter buses around Albury more times than I care to remember, I have yet to see a service even one third full.
This to me says one thing loud and clear, the buses are over-sized for the commuter demand. I would suggest a more appropriate method would be to run smaller sized shuttle buses, with an increase in the number of services.
Currently services to areas like Thurgoona and Wodonga are very poorly serviced, outlying areas are completely unserviced.
Weekend services and those during the evening and very early morning are virtually zero.
A privatised bus service makes it all too easy for a bus company to “cherry pick”, service the areas they are going to get maximum profit for minimum effort and forget about the rest.
These kind of factors make it impossible for more people to rely on public transport, with parking in the CBD becoming ever more scarce (despite the multi storey car park finished at considerable cost and representing a questionable use of land), we need to invest in clean, publicly owned, reliable, affordable, public transport as a matter of urgency.
Just as an aside, Kaliana sheltered workshop maintains a fleet of around fifteen vehicles, on any given day around half of which stand idle.
With petrol prices soaring and climate change as the result of fossil fuel consumption high on the agenda and not looking to abate anytime soon, maybe it’s time public transport was on the agenda locally.