Bus and Tram Express
Bus and Tram Express

Loss of extra Zoo bus leaves families with “PLAN C”

Oct 24, 2012News

State Transit has decided to discontinue the extra school holiday bus service that takes people from the Taronga Zoo wharf up to the main entrance and back.

North Sydney depot has been supplying an extra bus to assist with the large crowds for many years. The bus does normal route services in the first half of the shift and for the second half, from about four hours, assists with loading zoo goers at the wharf. However, after a wet and windy June holiday period, where crowd numbers were down, State Transit ditched the extra bus. The September school holidays were chaotic, but no one from state transit recorded passenger numbers and there was no re-evaluation of the service.

As the busy summer holiday period approaches, families will be once again left in the massive cue for the cable car at the wharf, or forced to use the lower zoo entrance where they will be faced with a serious walk up-hill for their day at the zoo.

The ferries can carry up to 700 people and without the extra bus, the two buses rostered on at that time – the dedicated Taronga wharf to Taronga Zoo top gate and the Taronga Wharf to Balmoral service – can only accommodate around 120 passengers per ferry .

The wheel chair buses on that route are also only legally allowed to carry two open prams, and one less bus means families have walk to the bottom entrance or fold prams before they get on the bus, slowing the loading process down and causing extra inconvenience for everyone.

Many people purchase a zoo pass which includes return ferry, bus and entrance into the zoo but insufficient services during school holidays and long queues mean these people have limited access to bus services.

In addition, the family zoo tickets do not validate in the buses on that route, and in the peak times, drivers are forced to let passengers holding these tickets get on the bus without validation. As a result the true number of passengers using the service are not recorded accurately. This has been bought to management’s attention on many occasions.

Taronga Zoo staff are also unhappy because of the delays faced by their customers as they try to get into the zoo and the fact that the bus service paid for in the family zoo ticket is not able to cater to demand.

Either State Transit or Transport for NSW is getting money for jam and taking people’s hard earned money and giving nothing in return, leaving families with PLAN C – walking up hill all day.