Tuesday, 1 November 2016
Silver lining with local business more than filling the void
A GLEN Innes coach company has been inundated with bookings and enquiries about its bus services from Tamworth through to Brisbane in the wake of the Greyhound Australia decision to put the brakes on its services in the region, according to Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall.
Mr Marshall says New England Coaches, operated by Glen Innes couple Daniel Arandale and Karen McAllister, has been running the Brisbane service every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for two years – and the decision by Greyhound to end its service to Brisbane has prompted an avalanche of enquiries for bookings on their coaches.
“Since the announcement, New England Coaches has been inundated with enquiries about booking on their service,” Mr Marshall said.
“Their enquiries and bookings have been going gangbusters since that decision by Greyhound and really, this is great news, because if they can pick up extra business and keep one of our local companies surging forward this is a bonus for them and for our regional bus travellers.
“Such has been the strength of the demand, the company is currently considering increasing the number of services to Brisbane each week and that could be the silver lining for regional passengers.
“That’s tremendous news and I’m so excited and optimistic of the future for all of us.”
The New England Coaches’ service leaves the Tamworth Railway Station at 7am in the morning and arrives in Brisbane mid-afternoon – a timeframe Mr Marshall says suits a lot of travellers.
“The increased interest in what they’re doing offers hope that they can expand their schedules and even their frequency of services,” he said.
“That’s not just a plus for bus travellers but a local business is benefitting and that’s really good news for us all.”
The boost for the local company comes in the wake of last Friday’s bombshell announcement from Greyhound Australia that it was suspending all coach services between Sydney and Brisbane via inland NSW because of falling passenger numbers.
The news that it was pulling the pin on its New England Highway route signalled the end of coach services through towns like Tenterfield, Glen Innes, Guyra, Armidale, Uralla, Tamworth and down through the Hunter.
Greyhound Australia said the inland route was financially unviable and load volumes had been consistently under their breakeven point – the definitive reason for the suspension.
“This could be just the ticket for our transport needs and retaining local ownership and business interests with a bigger market share is an extra bonus,” Mr Marshall said.
“So if Greyhound Australia doesn’t want us, then we don’t want them. Our region has a local company, employing local people, that is stepping up to the plate and provides a wonderful service.”
As the Parliamentary Secretary for Northern NSW, Mr Marshall said he was incredibly optimistic now about a brighter future for regional coach travellers.
He said the company operated an online booking service via telephone at its Glen Innes office.