Following a meeting today, a new bus run may be added to TransNorth’s East Innisfail service to help residents get home from work while a replacement Jubilee Bridge, in the centre of Innisfail, is being built.

Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt called the meeting, attended by Cassowary Coast Regional Councillors and a representative from bus company TransNorth, to discuss ways to help East Innisfail residents whose pedestrian access to Jubilee Bridge has ended because of new bridge works.

Mr Pitt said the meeting was in response to feedback his office had received over several weeks.

“There are currently six bus services a day from the CBD to East Innisfail, but no late afternoon service to assist workers to return home. At the moment, the last service leaves the CBD at 3.50pm.

“Some older residents have told me they don’t live close enough to a designated stop and cannot afford a taxi,” Mr Pitt said.

“It’s clear that a coordinated effort is required. There’s a need to ensure residents are aware of the existing services and how to access them, but more work may need to be done to advertise the timetable and fare options.

“Adults pay $2 each way for adults and the concession rate is $1, and a QConnect 10-trip ticket is available for regular bus users for the price of eight trips.”

As a direct outcome from today’s meeting, Mr Pitt said TransNorth was considering adding a late afternoon bus run to its East Innisfail service, possibly to leave from Owen Street at 5.15pm.

“The company requires a reasonable level of interest to warrant the inclusion of an additional bus service,” Mr Pitt said.

“East Innisfail residents are being encouraged to ring TransNorth and let them know if they would use such a service, so the company can gauge whether it is a feasible addition to its bus runs.

Mayor of the Cassowary Coast Region Cr Bill Shannon thanked Mr Pitt for bringing the parties together for the meeting and urged residents to take advantage of the services.

“TransNorth is considering putting the new service on because of the bridge situation but first they need to know whether there is enough interest in it,’’ Cr Shannon said.

“I encourage people to ring TransNorth if they feel a 5.15pm bus run from the Innisfail CBD to East Innisfail is warranted.

“I want to also get the message out to everyone about what is already available.’’

Mr Pitt said Queensland Transport subsidises TransNorth $239,142 per year for all of the public transport services provided to Innisfail and surrounding areas.

“A further meeting with Queensland Transport will be held later this week and if there is a need to push for more funding to support the additional service, I will.

“For those residents who genuinely cannot afford the bus fare or are unable to access public transport for other reasons, I’d encourage them to contact my office.”

Mr Pitt said that while the closure of the Jubilee Bridge to pedestrian traffic last week was regrettable, it was of course necessary.

“While people will no longer be able to walk, ride a bicycle or push a pram across from East Innisfail to the CBD, the risk was simply too great for the sake of convenience,” Mr Pitt said.

“I know that the Council and the contractor are pulling out all stops to ensure the works are completed as quickly as possible to minimise the disruption on local residents.”

The replacement Jubilee Bridge is being built approximately five meters upstream from the existing bridge. The $21.6 million project – which is possible after a State Government funding commitment of $14 million – is expected to be completed by May 2011.

The existing bridge was closed to vehicles in May due to structural damage, and closed to pedestrians this month because of public safety issues during the new bridge’s construction.

For information on bus services, or to provide feedback on a potential new 5.15pm bus run from the CBD to East Innisfail, people can ring TransNorth on 4061 7944.

A copy of the timetable can be downloaded from the Queensland Transport website at:

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