BATHURST bus users have been invited to share their views on local services with an Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) review of fares in regional centres.
IPART is investigating how fares should best be set for services in Central West and Far Western NSW, how these fares and the costs of providing them relate to metropolitan services, and how services might be improved to better meet passenger demands.
IPART chairman Dr Peter Boxall said around 138 different operators provided bus services across the western region, including Bathurst.
“Most trips in regional and rural NSW are made by private vehicles, but buses and other forms of public transport provide a valuable service for those unable to drive or without access to a vehicle,” Dr Boxall said.
“Just 2.4 per cent of bus trips are undertaken by full-fare paying adult passengers, which means most ... services are almost entirely funded by taxpayers.”
The costs of providing these services will be a key factor for IPART’s review, along with an assessment of how bus fares for journeys of different distances should vary.
IPART is also looking at whether more flexible “on demand” services could be used to reduce costs or better meet community needs in regional areas.
Local residents, community groups and transport providers have until June 29 to make submissions to IPART on the proposed approach to the review of rural and regional bus fares from January 1, 2018.
An online survey is available at www.ipart.nsw.gov.au/Home/Rural-Regional-Bus-Survey.
There will be a further opportunity for submissions once a draft report is released in September.