Regional bus routes to be scrapped

Kent AcottThe West Australian

The State Government has decided to scrap six regional bus routes, less than a month after announcing the closure of its 18-year train service between Perth and the Avon Valley.

The closures, which will take effect in late December, have been blamed on poor patronage.

"There simply isn't the demand to justify retaining them," Public Transport Authority spokesman David Hynes said.

Shire of Northam president Steven Pollard said the decision was another slap in the face for people living in regional areas.

Three regular services are to be scrapped - Albany to Ravensthorpe, Northam to Mukinbudin and Bunbury to Collie and Boyup Brook.

And three charter services will be axed - Boxwood Hill to Bremer Bay, Hopetoun to Ravensthorpe and Quairading to Narembeen.

Like most of WA's public transport services, taxpayers subsidise Transwa regional bus routes, meaning the full cost of the service is not recovered from fares.

Mr Hynes said the Transwa bus network carried 208,954 passengers in 2012-13 at an average subsidy of $19.06 a passenger.

He said the subsidy for the axed services was higher. For example, the 1203 people who used the Albany to Ravensthorpe service in 2012-13 were subsidised at $163.75 a passenger.

The subsidy for the Northam to Mukinbudin line was $152.96 a passenger and the Bunbury to Boyup Brook services $52.07 a passenger.

"Cutting these services will save $500,000 every year," Mr Hynes said.

Cr Pollard said the decisions to close the rail and the bus services would add to the area's public transport woes and relative isolation.

Shadow transport minister Ken Travers said the decision was another blow for regional WA.

'There simply isn't the demand to justify retaining them.'"Public Transport Authority spokesman *David Hynes *

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