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Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Port Stephens to trial community bus for Karuah

Port Stephens Council has secured $93,560 from the NSW Government to trial an on-demand community bus service for Karuah.

Mayor, Ryan Palmer says the two-year trial – which begins today – will help locals re-connect with friends and re-explore the town centre after years of pandemic-induced lockdowns.

“This new service allows community members access to transport right from their door step to attend social events and appointments with increased convenience and flexibility – something not often possible in regional areas, unless you have access to private transport,” Mr Palmer said.

“The trial is a huge win for the residents of Karuah who can now enjoy improved connections to retail hubs, cafes, restaurants and entertainment, and other services such as postal, banking, or health care,” he added.

New CEO of Karuah RSL Club Chris Fraser, said the RSL Club fully supported the project and looked forward to facilitating and running the Karuah Konnect service.

“The bus is available to pick residents up from their home and drop them in town at the Karuah Centre, where they can participate in classes being held or enjoy a complimentary tea and coffee while interacting with friendly volunteers,” Mr Fraser said.

“Using our existing courtesy buses under the guise of Karuah Konnect, we’re operating on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 10am and 2pm, picking people up from their houses and then dropping them home again after their time in the village centre.”

Council’s Strategy and Environment Section Manager, Brock Lamont says the new initiative aligned with Council’s recently endorsed Karuah Place Plan, designed to improve liveability, increase wellbeing and deliver economic growth to create more vibrant places for people to connect, discover and enjoy with their community.

“The Karuah community played a pivotal role in developing and refining the final Karuah Place Plan during the consultation phases. At the time, they identified two main priorities including ‘Access to neighbourhood amenities’ and ‘Access and safety of walking, cycling and/or public transport’,” Mr Lamont said.

“Due to the smaller population of Karuah, a regular transport service isn’t available. This grant from Transport for NSW allows us to fill this service gap until the population of Karuah grows and a regular service can be implemented.

“We know this is important to our community, and we’re proud to support the delivery of the Karuah Konnect service to support improved movement, creating connected communities,” he said.

The cost to catch the Karuah Konnect is a gold coin donation, which will be invested back into the program. Bookings can be made by calling The Karuah Centre on 4987 0002.

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