Jim Glasson, the Director General of the Ministry of Transport, was the guest speaker at the regular Institute for Transport and Logistics Studies (ITLS) transport seminar at Sydney University.
A Community Transport provider who was at the Seminar asked, "There are a number of people disadvantaged by the route changes that are being made as a result of the Bus Network Review. A lot of these people are people with disabilities, frail aged or transport disadvantaged. Why haven't Community Transport been involved in trying to meet the needs of these people?"
"There's no money" said Mr Glasson, without blinking. "It's true that there have been some people that have missed out but we can't justify sending buses down streets with low patronage anymore". And that was the end of the discussion.
This is a very serious social inclusion issue and one in which Sydney is lagging far behind cities in other developed countries who offer a variety of community transport style services to cater for the needs of people unable to access the mainstream mass transit system.
Many community transport providers are interested in expanding the types of services that they can provide but, because of funding issues, are restricted to providing service mostly to people assessed as Home and Community Care clients. The Director General's answer didn't provide any hope for a near term solution to this issue.