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Greyhound Australia has announced the company will cease the Goulburn to Canberra service, the only bus route available to residents in the area, in one week.
This comes after the Goulburn Mulwaree Council had struck up the agreement with the company only two years ago in an effort to reduce transport costs for residents. There were no prior negotiations between the two bodies prior to the announcement.
The council has received multiple emails and phone calls from concerned residents who use the service and plans to organise an “urgent meeting” with Greyhound Australia.
“[We] have had discussions with regular commuters who use the service that state they have not been consulted on options for continuation of the service,” the council statement read.
Mayor Bob Kirk said the service was instigated by the council and therefore a discussion prior to the decision would have been “appropriate” and “courteous”.
“It’s not our operation but of course it affects our community,” Cr Kirk said. “You can’t blame a commercial operator looking at the financials.”
He said the council may look at another service, such as the Transborder Express, which travels between Yass and Canberra.
“If we don’t get anything, it won’t be because we haven’t tried,” he said.
Greyhound Australia commuter Peter Oliver said it was incredibly disappointing passengers had not been told of the changes before.
“There's a number of regular commuters who have bought long term passes and we've not heard peep from the company. They've got our details which are used to book online, so there's little excuse,” Mr Oliver said.
“It's a shame, because Goulburn Mulwaree Council, to its absolute credit, put in considerable effort to get this service to Goulburn.”
Another commuter, who emailed Greyhound Australia inquiring about the changes, was notified all Greyhound services booked after September 17 would be refunded.
“Unfortunately the Goulburn based support of these services has been poor which in turn means that these services are not commercially viable and cannot be sustained,” the email read.
“We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience this decision has caused you but it is not financially viable for us to continue subsidising this route on such low fulfillment rates.”
MP Pru Goward has said she will work with the council to find a solution.
“I’m very annoyed about the decision. I don’t know what we can do about it because I suppose it is a commercial decision but it was a well used service,” Ms Goward said. “I would have preferred some consultation on this before the decision was made and the opportunity to ask whether it was a funding issue.”
A morning service from Goulburn to Canberra and two evening services on a return route are currently in operation.
The company did not respond to questions about this by the Goulburn Post in time for publication.
This article first appeared on www.goulburnpost.com.au
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