Maryborough, Avoca, Talbot and Clunes will lose their weekday Gold Bus service to Ballarat before the end of the year, the Department of Transport has confirmed.
The Gold Bus Ballarat service will run for the last time on December 20, leaving locals in the lurch.
The Advertiser understands Gold Bus operates the current bus service between Maryborough, Avoca and Ballarat as a self-funding commercial operation under an agreement with the Department of Transport.
The Monday to Friday service leaves from the Avoca Post Office in the morning, stopping at Maryborough, Talbot and Clunes before heading to Ballarat and stopping at Stocklands Shopping Centre, Ballarat Grammar School, Loreto College, St Pats/Ballarat College and Ballarat Base Hospital before heading to the Ballarat Railway Station. The bus makes a return trip to Avoca in the afternoon.
A Department of Transport spokesperson said they have been informed the service will be discontinued and that passenger rail services from Maryborough can provide alternative public transport.
“The private operator of the Avoca-Ballarat bus service has advised the Department of Transport that they will discontinue operating the bus service from late December,” the spokesperson said.
“Passenger rail services were reintroduced to Maryborough in 2010 to help get people in regional Victoria where they need to go, quicker and easier.”
However, the problem may already be resolved for Maryborough students who rely on the Gold Bus to get to school.
Maffescioni Bus Lines manager David Maffescioni said hearing about the service cancellation and receiving calls from concerned parents pushed him to look for a solution.
“When I heard about the cancellation I thought there had to be a way to make it work. Parents were talking about having to do car pools or use taxis,” he said.
“But we’re very hopeful that we’ve already got a solution, we’re just waiting to get a couple of things confirmed.
For more on this story see Page 3 of The Advertiser, Friday, December 6