Passengers left behind by late Australind timetable

Emily AceSouth Western Times
Margaret Duce is concerned about the changes to the Australind timetable, claiming the new arrival times are far too late for families and the elderly.
Camera IconMargaret Duce is concerned about the changes to the Australind timetable, claiming the new arrival times are far too late for families and the elderly. Credit: Jon Gellweiler

Changes to the Australind train’s weekend timetable have left Bunbury senior Margaret Duce questioning whether the people of Bunbury are being short-changed.

The train service departs from Bunbury on Saturday and Sunday at 6am, arriving in Perth at 8.30am, with the next service leaving eight hours later at 4.45pm to arrive in Perth at 7.12pm.

Travellers departing Perth have the option of catching a 9.30am train, which arrives in Bunbury at 11.55am, or a 7.55pm train, which arrives at 10.18pm.

Mrs Duce said the Australind had always been Bunbury’s “lifeline to Perth” but travellers had been forced to catch buses because of the late hour the train now arrives.

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“Bunbury people are not being considered in the timetable changes,” she said.

“I caught the Australind from Perth on Sunday at 7.55pm – I had to travel by taxi to Perth station as it was too dark to walk or catch a suburban train.

“I arrived in Bunbury at 10.20pm and it was cold, dark, late and isolating — far too late for people to arrive in Bunbury, especially families and the elderly.”

Public Transport Authority spokesman David Hynes said the changes to weekend services were always intended as a six-month trial and passengers had been surveyed on the changes.

“This feedback will be collated and assessed, and a decision on whether to continue with the current timings or revert back to the previous timetable will be made once the trial concludes in October,” Mr Hynes said.

He said passengers’ safety and security was a high priority for Transwa and private security had been stationed at the Bunbury Terminal for passengers returning on the later service.

Bunbury MLA Don Punch said he had been contacted by a number of concerned residents regarding the changes, but said it was about striking the right balance.

“Any time there is a change to a long running service that people rely on, it causes some concern and inconvenience and that has been the case with the trial of the alternate weekend timetable for the Australind,” he said.

“A number of Bunbury residents have contacted me with concerns about the timetable changes, particularly the late evening arrival times, and I understand the issues this has created for people, but the trial period is almost at an end.

“I will be advocating for a train service that gets the balance right between providing South West residents with a convenient connection to Perth and encouraging metropolitan people to visit our region.”

Mr Punch said there were a range of improvements planned for the Australind, which would see new rolling stock on the tracks and improved journey times.

“If we want to really maximise the benefits of these improvements into the future it is important we get the timetable right,” he said.

“We need to elevate the use of the Australind as a transport option between Bunbury and Perth and increase patronage of the train, and the only way we can achieve this is by offering a quality service that is convenient and meets the needs of travellers.”

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