Country bus shelters are falling apart

UNUSABLE: A bus shelter in the Moorabool township of Morrisons is damaged beyond use, posing a danger to passengers waiting for their bus to arrive. Picture: Marcus Conray
UNUSABLE: A bus shelter in the Moorabool township of Morrisons is damaged beyond use, posing a danger to passengers waiting for their bus to arrive. Picture: Marcus Conray

Residents of country Victoria are expressing concerns at the state of bus shelters in the region.

Moorabool shire resident Marcus Conray said he had seen damaged, vandalised and unsafe shelters in multiple towns and is calling for help from the local council.

In particular, he is concerned about a school bus shelter in the town of Morrisons that has a broken seat, with the metal sides of the shelter bent out of shape and some panels detached.

“I believe the bus stop shelter is unsafe and should be removed or repaired,” Mr Conray said.

“This is just one of many vandalised, dirty and graffitied bus stop shelters in the Moorabool shire.” 

He said he has seen one in Ballan with exposed “razor sharp metal sheeting” loose on the shed, also noting a vandalised shelter in Bacchus Marsh .

General manager for infrastructure at Moorabool Council, Phil Jeffrey, said the council did not currently have a proactive service to routinely inspect bus stop shelters.

“Ultimately we will,” said Mr Jeffrey, but currently the council relies upon members of the community to notify them of issues.

“We weren’t aware of the damage,” said Mr Jeffrey,  but “an inspection has been done,” with the repair process underway.

He said when commuters notice a problem, they should report the location and type of damage to customer service at the council.

“We need that information to make repairs… until we have a specific location, it’s hard to verify.”

Ben Lever, Ballarat convenor of the Public Transport Users Association, said it was really important for there to be adequate shelters at bus stops.

“Waiting for a bus when it’s cold and wet… is very unappealing, so it won’t attract passengers to leave the car at home and use the bus network instead,” Mr Lever said. “State and local government need to really encourage people to use the public transport network in order to reduce traffic. 

“Things like providing adequate shelter and decent footpaths leading to the stop are really important.”

He said it was commonly young students and older people who use the services, who may be more vulnerable to cold winter weather conditions and potentially dangerous shelters.

Moorabool Shire have stated temporary shelters will be used when a shelter needs to be completely replaced, when possible.

Mr Jeffrey said he was not concerned about the general state of bus shelters in the Moorabool shire.

In a recent local government community satisfaction survey, Moorabool Shire experienced a two-point overall improvement in resident sentiment, to an index score of 56 out of 100.

DAMAGED SHELTER: Waiting for repairs PICTURE: Jhn Ditchman

DAMAGED SHELTER: Waiting for repairs PICTURE: Jhn Ditchman