PUBLIC Transport Victoria is facing another head-on collision with Warrnambool residents as the city council attempts to make a late submission on bus route changes.
Councillors have been feeding in a wave of public unrest over proposed route changes, alterations to bus stops and concerns over school bus runs.
The submission will call on the department to reopen its consultations and disclose specific details of the changes before finalising implementation.
In a statement to The Standard yesterday, the department said further submissions would not be considered and all routes had been finalised for implementation early next year.
“Public Transport Victoria (PTV) is working through the final implementation stages of the new bus network for Warrnambool,” a department spokeswoman said.
“All routes have now been finalised and PTV is working with Warrnambool Bus Lines towards implementation of the new network in early 2014.”
The department revealed it had revised its draft network after considering submissions lodged during a two-week public comment period mid-year.
But The Standard understands several later comments were considered and adjustments made, particularly regarding proposed removal of the Gateway Plaza stop and school bus routes to and from the Koroit Street central exchange.
“The network has been revised from the initial draft that was released …and it incorporates valuable feedback we received from many Warrnambool locals, including school communities, the city council and many community groups,” the department said.
“PTV will be sharing details of the final bus network with the community in the near future.
“As the implementation stage is now well advanced, further submissions about the networks cannot be considered by PTV.”
City councillor Jacinta Ermacora, who raised community concerns in a council meeting late last month, said she was disappointed further opportunity for comment had been denied.
She said if more details had been disclosed in the early draft there wouldn’t be the concerns now as people discovered more about the specifics.
“The city council still intends to send its further submission on Monday,” she said.
“We will call on PTV to conduct another round of community engagement on the current proposal.
“What they intend to do is different from the original proposal.
“Early community engagement was superficial and did not include where the bus stops would be.”
Lorraine de Kok, whose son Nathan is wheelchair-bound and relies on buses for transport, was also upset when told there would be no more opportunity for late submissions.
“The department needs to have a good hard look at itself,” she said.
“Customers will be very cross to learn they can make no further comments.
“I will make sure I attend information sessions when PTV explains its new network.
“I will not be silenced.”