AFTER a year of campaigning, Orange residents will soon be able to use a coach link to catch the Bathurst Bullet weekday services.
The new coach service, announced by member for Orange Andrew Gee yesterday, will shave 30 minutes off a day return trip to Sydney and has been heralded as a milestone for public transport in Orange by its proponents.
NSW TrainLink will provide the coach service, leaving Orange to meet the Bullet train before it departs Bathurst at 5.49am and picking up passengers from Bathurst when the train arrives at 9.35pm, Monday to Friday.
“At the moment, the Orange bus service misses the Bathurst Bullet by about 15 minutes, which is just absurd,” Mr Gee said.
“This will offer a fare reduction of 40 per cent. I think it will be very popular with those travelling on public transport.”
A timetable for the coach will be finalised before the end of April and the service is expected to commence soon after.
Orange City Council’s Orange Rail Action Group, which helped lobby the state government for the service alongside Mr Gee, welcomed the announcement.
“What we’ve been lobbying is for the coach not to leave at such an ungodly hour, say at 5.30(am), and the Bullet to leave a little later, after 6am, but it’s all up to the government to decide,” Chairman Councillor Neil Jones said.
“We’d really like to see the Bathurst Bullet leaving from Orange, but at the moment, this is a good solution.”
Managing director of Australia Wide Coaches Richard Dawes, whose company provides an alternative coach service from Orange, said while he was concerned passenger numbers would drop between Orange and Lithgow because of the new coach, he believed many of his existing customers would not swap to the public service.
“Our service is faster. The [TrainLink] coach would have to leave around five [minutes] to 5am, and the coach would then travel to Bathurst to meet the train there and then arrive in Sydney at Central at 9.30. Our service departs Orange after 6 and arrives at Central at 10am. I think our customers will remain loyal.”
l The Central Western Daily would like your thoughts on the new coach link to the Bathurst Bullet. Vote online in our poll at www.centralwesterndaily.com.au.