AS WINTER approaches and miserable weather arrives, bus users continue to be left standing in the cold and rain due to the poorly designed bus shelter at Biggs Drive in Wonthaggi.
Despite campaigning from angry locals, the shelter remains inadequate and does very little to shield those waiting for a bus service from fierce winds and pelting rain.
Nine months have passed since Wonthaggi’s Yvonne McRae and Isabell Parker started the campaign to move the V-Line stop back to the perfectly-suited shelter at Watt Street next to the Wonthaggi Magistrates’ Court or at very least improve the Biggs Drive shelter.
A petition has garnered more than 1000 signatures and the pair has lobbied the Bass Coast Shire Council and Public Transport Victoria (PTV) to take action.
The result – two government departments who refuse to take responsibility for the issue.
In the July 21 edition of the Sentinel-Times, Bass Coast Shire Council’s general manager of Infrastructure, Felicity Sist said the issue is out of the council’s hands.
“The responsible authority for the bus stop and its infrastructure is Public Transport Victoria,” she said.
“The council is in discussions with PTV advocating for improvements to the bus stop.”
Ms Sist stood by her statement this week.
“Council was advised in late 2015 that there was a review being undertaken of the roles and responsibilities of V/Line bus shelters across the state and that we would be advised of the outcome,” she said.
“We believe that the bus stop is state-managed infrastructure. Council has not been provided with any further updates from PTV or other state agencies regarding its future management.
“Council has had a number of discussions with PTV regarding the provision of infrastructure to provide better comfort for users at the V/Line bus stop in Wonthaggi.”
Yvonne McRae continues to be disappointed with the response to the situation.
“Everywhere we go we’re questioned all the time, ‘What’s happening with the bus stop?’ We’ve got winter coming again and there’s still no shelter,” she said.
“It’s just ridiculous, it’s like a mushroom that popped up there and nobody knows about it.”
South West Gippsland Transport Users Group Co-chair Max Semken was adamant the shelter is the property of PTV.
“It’s got nothing to do with the council. It’s government property – simple as that,” he said.
“The government’s too lazy to put their hand in their pocket and do something.
“(The shelter’s) an abomination that should never have been built. It should have a total area where you’re out of the rain or sun.”
A PTV spokesperson has finally confirmed PTV is in fact responsible for the Wonthaggi bus interchange.
“PTV is committed to improving the experience for passengers travelling on the regional bus network,” the spokesperson said.
“As part of this, PTV regularly explores what potential options are available to improve the functionality and amenity of transport hubs in regional areas including in South Gippsland.”
Bus users still out in the cold