FOR wheelchair-bound Nathan Dekok buses are a lifeline to stay in touch with the community — otherwise he could become stuck at home.
However, proposed changes to Warrnambool’s bus routes would eliminate a pick-up point near his home and require him to negotiate footpaths and road crossings to other stops twice the distance away.
It’s a prospect his mother Lorraine fears could inhibit his enthusiasm to socialise and engage in community activities.
Mrs Dekok is among a growing number of Warrnambool residents unhappy with aspects of proposed sweeping changes to routes across the municipality.
Public Transport Victoria (PTV) has already delayed implementation of the new routes and is still considering numerous submissions based on its draft plan released mid-year.
Now there is a fresh move for more protests as people learn of where the new bus stops will and won’t be.
A new petition is being circulated and the city council is likely to re-send its submission and include updated information.
It called for people with complaints to contact the civic centre offices, individual councillors or PTV.
Cr Jacinta Ermacora last week convened a meeting to discuss proposed removal of the Gateway Plaza bus stop, school routes and the Koroit Street interchange.
Yesterday, she said there was increasing community unrest across the city and in Allansford.
The issue was discussed by councillors in their regular Monday night briefing sessions and an in-principle decision made to update the earlier submission.
“I think we can still give feedback to PTV,” Cr Ermacora told The Standard.
“There is a strong feeling in the community that the design for new bus routes was drawn up by bureaucrats in Melbourne and that locals know what’s best.
“We welcome changes to provide better morning and afternoon services for workers, but are disappointed with all the other changes.”
Mrs Dekok said the existing bus service used by her son was “brilliant” and she could see no reason why it should be changed.
“We now have to go only one-and-a-half blocks from home to the Breton Street stop, but this is to removed and we’ll have to walk double the distance.
“Other streets in the area will be affected also.
“If Nathan doesn’t have an accessible bus service he may become housebound.
“Wheelchair taxis are not always available. He uses buses for social outings, medical appointments, going to the library and shopping.”