TRANSPORT: Brian Crase can jump in his Jeep for appoinments; for others getting around the region is more challenging.
TRANSPORT: Brian Crase can jump in his Jeep for appoinments; for others getting around the region is more challenging. Dominic Elsome

Survey uncovers need for more public transport

TWELVE kilometres is a long way to walk from Minden to Lowood to go to the doctor.

For some residents, it is the only option.

Luckily for Brian Crase, he can still drive his Jeep to get to the supermarket, doctor and newsagent each week.

However, Mr Crase feels the government is not investing in areas outside the southeast coastline.

The Minden retiree said there was minimal public transport services in the area connecting towns in the Lockyer and Somerset regions.

"If we need to go to Ipswich, we would have to go to Lowood first," he said.

"At the moment, there is a bus in Toogoolawah, but if those residents want to go to a specialist (in Ipswich) they can only go on a Thursday."

His concerns echo Member for Lockyer Jim McDonald's recent survey on public transport in the Somerset area, particularly Lowood and Fernvale areas.

"I hope the survey gets somewhere," Mr Crase said. "Public transport is a real problem, if there was public transport it would give people more opportunities to get out and make appointments."

Mr Crase suggested extending the railway passenger service from Rosewood through to Laidley, Gatton, Helidon and Toowoomba.

Luckily, the 83-year-old is still able to drive his Jeep to the supermarkets and appointments.

"I hope to keep driving for another 10 years if they keep giving me my pink paper," he said.

 

Member for Lockyer Jim McDonald.
Member for Lockyer Jim McDonald. ALI KUCHEL

Lack of public transport is a serious concern for older, disabled residents

A SURVEY into public transport in the Somerset region has outlined a number of recommendations for Member for Lockyer Jim McDonald.

Mr McDonald organised the survey, which began in September, and worked with a team of Queensland University of Technology interns to deliver recommendations.

"This was an excellent opportunity for me to work with a group of talented and motivated students to find out a little more about what challenges are facing my constituents in the

Somerset Region," Mr McDonald said.

"With their research expertise and my knowledge of the region, we combined to conduct what I feel was a well-developed and valid survey which produced great recommendations."

The survey asked participating residents for their thoughts on public transport in the region, including how much they knew about available transport options.

Survey participants were also asked what they felt were the present public transport issues in the region and if they had any ideas on how to improve services.

The report highlighted that a lack of community and public transport was a serious concern for older and disabled residents who often felt isolated or totally dependent on others to get around.

"This was a theme that resonated throughout the interviews and my contact with residents," Mr McDonald said.

"The elderly and disabled are some of the region's most vulnerable and services really need to be improved to give these people a hand."

Many of the report's key recommendations centred on these issues and detailed options to help reduce social isolation.

The report recommended a resource detailing all available community and public transport options in the region should be developed and made readily available for residents to improve awareness of transport options.

It also recommended an increase in services along Translink's Route 529 bus service two or three times a week to better cater for residents unable to work within the current timetable.

"Presently, Route 529 is the only service connecting Somerset with Ipswich," Mr McDonald said.

"Unfortunately, this service only offers one in-bound and out-bound bus per day, forcing residents to plan their whole day around a single bus trip.

"That's not enough."

Anyone wishing to find out more about the report is urged to contact the Lockyer Electorate office on 53516100.