Metro bus wait gets longer as feasibility study put off

Murray Bridge commuters will have to wait for better public transport, Adrian Pederick says, despite pressure from Labor on the issue.

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Murray Bridge residents who want a metro bus service will have to keep waiting.

A feasibility study promised in 2018 is now “on the back burner”, state MP Adrian Pederick says.

He had previously said the study would have to wait until after new contracts were awarded for the Adelaide Metro, which happened in March.

Unfortunately for local commuters, the company chosen to run bus services in the Adelaide Hills proved cheaper than another contender, one which had run a feasibility study of its own.

“Another proponent ... had some very imaginative proposals and exciting ideas,” he said.

“They didn't make it through the process.

“They would have significantly reduced prices – not as much as a metro ticket, but they would have given a 50 per cent discount on what's on offer at the moment.”

But the cost the company had quoted taxpayers had ultimately proven too great, he said.

“Unless people want to pay more tax, we can't keep extending services that are already heavily, heavily subsidised,” he said.

Opposition wants review of regional bus services

The state opposition has made some noise about regional bus services since Clare Scriven’s appointment as Labor’s regional development spokeswoman a fortnight ago.

Ms Scriven, pictured with Murray Bridge Councillor Mat O’Brien, wants regional bus services to be reviewed within the next two months.

“A lack of public transport options is a severe disadvantage for regional residents,” she said, singling out Murray Bridge in particular.

“A review of the current services is an important first step in ensuring that services can meet the needs of residents who need public transport options, to get to work, medical appointments, study and so on.

“The reality is that you need to be a car owner in regional South Australia, because if you rely on public transport you simply will not get where you need to go.”

State Parliament’s upper house voted in favour of a review last Thursday, with support from crossbenchers.

Government MPs including Treasurer Rob Lucas voted against Ms Scriven’s plan, describing it as “political point scoring at its worst”.

He argued that Labor had done “stuff all” for regional commuters during its most recent 16-year period in government.

Without government support, the review plan has little chance of getting through Parliament's lower house.

At any rate, Mr Pederick suggested, the issue had faded away a little lately – only one constituent had contacted him about it in the past six months.

Photo: Office of Clare Scriven. Correction: An earlier version of this article included an incorrect spelling of Ms Scriven’s name.