28 February 2011

FlexiLink taxi service under fire in Ipswich

THE much-maligned FlexiLink taxi service has come under fire once again at a protest rally held in Ipswich on Saturday.

Resident Catherine Wood wants axed bus services returned.

THE much-maligned FlexiLink taxi service has come under fire once again at a protest rally held in Ipswich on Saturday.

Under former Transport Minister and Ipswich MP Rachel Nolan, bus routes 505, 510 and 523 were axed in December last year and replaced with a taxi service, FlexiLink, which in most cases has to be booked a day in advance.

A rally at the Ipswich Workers Club on Saturday was attended by about 80 people.

The meeting was chaired by retired Tivoli businessman John Turner, who said the FlexiLink service was failing residents.

"We are stuck with a new service which is totally unreliable," Mr Turner said.

"A lot of times they either turn up late or don't turn up at all, and then I have to turn to private taxis and pay full fare, which is hard when you are on the pension."

The 70-year-old said the government had looked at the economics and forgotten their obligation to the people they represented to provide them with a public transport service.

Among those also voicing their concerns was Basin Pocket resident Lyn Kelly. On Friday she had organised to be picked up at Riverlink, only to have her FlexiLink taxi go to Bell Street by mistake.

She said the error left her waiting for more than an hour, and it wasn't the first time she had been left waiting.

"When it was first introduced and there were hiccups they said it would be ironed out," Ms Kelly said.

"It has been three months and the problems have not been ironed out."

Save Our Buses spokeswoman Patricia Petersen said she was delighted so many pensioners were in attendance, however, extremely disappointed that others who wanted to attend couldn't because they didn't have access to public transport and couldn't afford to pay a taxi fare of around $100.

She said attendees had unanimously voted to not stop fighting for their buses and to storm Parliament House if they don't get the buses back.

Guest speaker, Queensland Party leader Aidan McLindon, said he viewed the axing of bus routes as a slap in the face of the community.

"At a time when so many people every week are moving to Queensland, they should be increasing public transport services, not decreasing them," he said.

New Transport Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk told The Queensland Times last week that she would follow up on residents' complaints.

Ms Palaszczuk said FlexiLink was on trial and its effectiveness would be evaluated once the trial is over.

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