As Australia Wide Coaches again gets set to resume bus services between Orange and Sydney after ceasing operations in December because of the COVID outbreak, the company's director has taken a swipe at the Federal and State Government's lack of support of Australian-owned coaches in favour of multinational airlines.
Managing director Richard Dawes said that unlike the airlines, regional and interstate express coach services were given "zero financial support" during the pandemic, and only manged to stay afloat due to JobKeeper.
"It was quite devastating when we had to shut the service again... We were closed all of last year, effectively," Mr Dawes said.
"We were just seeing the confidence in travel return in December last year, when parts of Sydney were placed into lockdown and it was thought there was a possible COVID case discovered in Orange.
Coach is a very viable way for people to travel into the regions and we have not been supported one iota by any politician.Managing Director Richard Dawes
"The passenger loadings on the service just plummeted to an unstainable level and we had to cease our operation once again.
"Unfortunately, regional and interstate express coach services have been given zero financial support, unlike the airlines, to provide vital and affordable services to these rural communities.
"Coach is a very viable way for people to travel into the regions and we have not been supported one iota by any politician."
The director had been "incensed" to learn that while the Singapore-owned airline REX received a $62M subsidy, Australia Wide Coaches which has a branch in Orange that consists of 12 staff was unable to get a reduction on registration fees while their buses sat stationary for most of 2020.
"Despite meetings with State and Federal Tourism leaders, including the Deputy PM, Michael McCormack, our pleas for assistance appear to have fallen largely on deaf ears," Mr Dawes said.
The InterCity Express coach service to/from Central Sydney and the Airport will resume on March 8, with plans to operate three days a week initially, until demand increases.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:
HAVE YOUR SAY
- Send us a letter to the editor using the form below ...