A WODONGA woman who is losing her eyesight and will come to rely more on public transport in the years to come was among those who attended a forum on the city’s bus services yesterday.
The Victorian Department of Transport has solicited consultancy firm Booz and Company to conduct a review of Wodonga’s public bus system.
Isabel Strachan, 71, attended the Wodonga Civic Centre for the first of two public workshops to be held in the city in relation to the review.
“When I read about it in the paper, they were talking about possibly altering routes and things like that and I didn’t know whether this bus stop that I’ve got here was very well used,” she said.
“Where I am now, I go out the front gate and turn left and walk a couple of hundred yards and I’m at the bus stop.
“If they took that away, who knows how long I’d have to walk ... and if I haven’t got my sight I probably won’t want to walk far.”
Mrs Strachan said the session had been informative, with attendees asked to name the strengths and challenges of the bus system as it stands.
“They were looking for ideas,” she said.
Wodonga Chamber of Commerce general manager Rob Lucas also took part in the forum and said he had appreciated the long-term vision it had embraced.
“It was about making sure any changes that happened mapped the future,” he said.
“It’s no good building a new bus service if it’s not going to meet the needs of Wodonga in ... 2026.”
Mr Lucas said the discussion had included gaps in the bus service.
“For instance, can you get a bus on a Sunday to go to Albury, if you wanted to?” he said.
“There’s also a limit to how long they run — they don’t run before 7am or after 6.30pm.
“And some young people in the city of Wodonga have apprenticeships in the industrial estates and there’s no bus service for them.
“These things are restrictive and were raised today that if you had a magic wand, they would be fixed.”
The consultants will assess the forum’s feedback before hosting a second workshop in a couple of months to offer an update on the review’s progress.