Newcastle Herald Letters to the Editor: Wednesday, January 17, 2018

STRUGGLE: People, especially the elderly or the mobility impaired, need a transport service that is convenient, reliable and takes them close to where they need to be.
STRUGGLE: People, especially the elderly or the mobility impaired, need a transport service that is convenient, reliable and takes them close to where they need to be.

FOLLOWING changes to Newcastle Transport’s bus timetables, the 201 bus service no longer travels down Beaumont Street, Hamilton, nor does it terminate at Aldi. It would seem no thought has been given to how pensioners who use walkers were going to cross Tudor Street then walk the length of Beaumont Street to access Aldi and then walk back to Tudor Street again to catch the bus. If this isn't discrimination of the elderly, I'd like to know what is?

Now to go to Marketown, it will require two buses as the 201 service no longer terminates at Marketown. This is disgraceful and impossible to comprehend. We are being encouraged to use public transport but a trip to Marketown by two buses may take me a long time, whereas by car it takes me four minutes. 

I always thought public transport was there to aid people to move about in their area but since the latest reshuffle, it appears to me that the bottom line is being considered more than the local residents. Just put the public back into public transport again and give us the service we deserve.

Roll on the next election, I say.

Susan Hocking, Hamilton

Top points for driver

I CARRIED out a test run of the new bus timetable/route serving my area. Everything worked as advertised and I arrived at Broadmeadow station in less time than if I‘d driven and found a parking spot.

The good news. Near Broadmeadow a disabled (partially blind and deaf) man boarded the bus and gave the driver a note with an old route number on it. The driver was incredibly patient while he tried to explain the changes to this gentleman. After a few minutes he could see he wasn’t having any success with this. He then rang the depot and after a short conversation he told and wrote a note for his passenger that the company was dispatching a service car to collect him, take him to Bennetts Green and would provide any information the passenger would need in the future.

The bad news. Firstly, why was this severely handicapped man left on his own? Secondly, while all this was going on a yobbo, bogan slattern was abusing the driver for delaying the bus. Nine out of 10 for the driver and 0 out of 10 for the yobbo.

John O’Brien, Merewether

Uphill battle in heat

I LOST a familiar sound on Sunday: that of government buses turning a corner about 150 metres away, following the cessation of route 334, which gave a four minute ride directly to Westfield Kotara.

Now, it's at least a six-minute walk, uphill most of the way, to the nearest bus stop. It’s hard to imagine in the current crop of high-temperature days. Then board a route 28 bus to Adamstown village, before a 15 minute wait for a bus to Westfield. Coming back, with possibly a load of shopping, we face a short trip to Adamstown shops, and possibly a wait of up to nearly one hour (28 is one hour, off-peak).

To top off this excursion into 'progress' the bus ride is extended, because there's no partner bus stop on the southbound side of Brunker Road, where our journey began.

Oh, and there is no bus stop available to residents of Garden Grove Parade, between Burn Street and near the bottom of the hill. That's a mere 725 metres.

I live 1.6 kilometres from the shopping centre. Has anybody told those responsible for the revised routes and timetables, that the population is ageing and may find it difficult to adapt to these changes? Where was the community consultation, instead of using Opal data and feedback from bus drivers? There is a difference between observing from a driver's seat and actually walking over sometimes hilly terrain, such as that in our neck of the woods.

I have emailed Keolis Downer regarding these issues, twice, without a reply.

I applaud the decision to run buses past Broadmeadow train station on Graham Road, saving a walk to/from the nine-ways (yes, I know, there has been bus access on the western side of the station, but that meant a change of buses).

Noel Carter, Adamstown Heights

Stink coming from Nobbys

YOUR paper last week reported on the quality of Newcastle baths that was certainly on the nose just prior to its cleaning day after heavy usage during heat wave conditions (‘Dirty dip’, Herald, 11/1). Criticism of the state of the change rooms I believe was unjustified and the attendants do a fine job. With a few procedural adjustments I’m sure it can be resolved.

May I suggest Newcastle council is on the nose in regards to Nobbys beach missing change rooms, judging by the numerous comments to this paper and on social media? The issue is not resolved and won’t be unless the council starts a process of engagement with the people who use Nobbys.

My emphasis is on “engagement” not the bogus so-called consultative process that NCC tries to sell us and then condescendingly tell us what a wonderful job they are doing. The bottom line is that the absence of change/shower facilities enabling people of all ages to change with dignity at Newcastle’s highest profile beach for locals and tourists is not acceptable. Start engaging NCC.

Peter Wickham, Telarah    

Battle at dog beach

​​TO the dog owners that frequent Horseshoe beach. Please be reminded this is a public space for families and individuals to use and enjoy in any way they like. Including swimming, fishing and even sitting peacefully. Yes, you are also allowed to take your dog. People without dogs have every right to be there without being harassed and intimidated by uncontrolled animals. According to council’s leash-free area regulations, all dogs must be accompanied and supervised. Also, dogs must be able to be controlled without a leash. A dog running 30 metres in front of an owner and jumping on people, and then urinating on their belongings, while the owner yells the animal’s name from a distance, clearly does not fall into these very specific guidelines. After recently witnessing a young family enjoying the holidays, fishing in the far corner of the beach. I saw a large and uncontrollable dog run up and harass these people. After repeated attempts by the father to have this intimidating animal leave his obviously traumatised children alone, he was met with a torrent of abuse from the dog’s owner and multiple other dog owners claiming 'this is a dog beach! Go fishing somewhere else!'. It’s this sense of entitlement some dog owners have that needs to change. It seems its not just the dogs that need training.

Stephen Rabbitt, Charlestown

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