Slow start to council bid for improved transport

THREE months since Orange City Council decided to lobby for better transport connections between Orange and Sydney, Orange mayor John Davis says he is disappointed nothing has changed.

Bathurst has been served by a daily commuter train service, dubbed the Bathurst Bullet, since October 21.

The bullet’s updated 2014 timetable reveals the train leaves Bathurst at 5:49am, only one minute later than it did last year and still too early for coach passengers leaving Orange at 5:20am to arrive in time.

Changing the coach departure time was one option the council wanted to pursue to improve connections to Sydney.

Another, albeit more costly, suggestion was to stable the Bathurst Bullet two-carriage Endeavour train in Orange overnight allowing the service to end and begin in Orange each day.

Cr Davis said the council would step up efforts to liase with Member for Orange Andrew Gee and the state government to improve transport to Sydney.

“Unfortunately we’re on the end of the Bathurst line. The distance between Bathurst and Orange by rail is a huge disadvantage for us ... financially it can’t work,” he said.

Cr Davis said changing the coach time between Orange and Bathurst to allow passengers to catch the Bathurst Bullet was a better option.

With collapsed carrier Brindabella Airlines ceasing its Orange service, the city is left with only Regional Express’s (Rex) flights, meaning even less transport options to and from Sydney are available each day.

Cr Davis said the private coach service to Sydney was getting good business picking up the slack, but the council would lobby for better public transport.

The price discrepancy between Orange/Bathurst to Sydney connections was another sore point raised in the campaign, kicked off in October, that has remained unchanged.

Ticket prices for the Bathurst Bullet have gone up but adults still only pay $11.80 for a return ticket to Central Station. By comparison the cheapest option to Central for Orange passengers is $70.22 to catch a coach to Lithgow with an electric rail connection to Sydney - despite only travelling an extra 55 kilometres each way.

To catch an XPT, Orange passengers pay $106.06 return and Bathurst passengers pay $89.92.

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