Mayfield resident turning back to the car after changes to Newcastle bus timetable


Cheryl Price, who is considering abandoning the buses in favour of a car, with Patricia Mulligan, who has been collecting signatures on Labor’s petition calling for a review of Newcastle and Lake Macquarie’s new bus timetable. Picture: Max Mason-HubersNewcastle’s new bus timetable has had such an impact on daily life for one Mayfield resident, she says she’s considering buyinga car.

Cheryl Price spoke in support of Hunter Labor MPs’calls for a“full and thorough review” of the timetable outside the Hamilton bus depot on Friday morning.

Ms Price told reporters that she and her husbandhad bought their home partly because it was close to a bus stop and had sold their second car.

Butsince the new timetable was introduced in January, late services and longer journeys have the couple considering buying another car.

Read more:Keolis Downer calls time on ‘ghost buses’ as Opal data arrives

“Now we find some of the services we relied on no longer exist and the services we still have are chaotic, they’re always late,” Ms Pricesaid.

“It’s something that’s hard to rely on. There are some places now where instead of driving 15 minutes or getting a 25 minute bus, it’s two buses and an hour. It’s just not practical.

“I was happy with the bus routes we had and the frequency we had–I’d be happy just to go back to that.”

Hunter Labor MPs and residents talk about the new Newcastle and Lake Macquarie bus timetable outside the Hamilton depot on Friday morning. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

The bus issue will be debated in NSW Parliament on Thursday at 4.30pm, after a 10,000-signature petition was tabled.

Hunter Labor MPs have a second petition with as many signatures, ready to trigger a second debate.

Read more:Keolis Downer releases new bus timetables

Newcastle MP Tim Crakanthorp said Ms Price had been “most incredibly inconvenienced” by the changes.

“Residents are calling the office telling me that they want to use the buses, they don’t want to add to the pollution and congestion in the city,” he said.

“But what other option do they have? The only ones winning from this mess are Uber and taxi drivers.”​

Keolis Downer Hunter general managerMark Dunlop said the organisation was taking customer feedback on board “along with performancedata and information from our staff as part of a review and will make improvements to the network in coming months”.

“The new network provides more services, more frequency and better links across transport modes in the region,” he said.

“The aim is to provide better connectivity and attract new public transport users.”

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