Future looks murky for bus station

NINE months after it was inundated by water and mud, the future of the Ipswich Transit Centre is still murky and clouded by uncertainty.

Apart from being an ongoing eyesore in Ipswich's city centre, its closure has caused anxiety to the bus drivers and passengers who used it.

The transit centre at the end of Bell Street in the Ipswich CBD went under water when the Bremer River burst its banks in January. Three weeks later, Queensland Rail, which was managing the centre, said it was committed to reopening it by the end of February.

A QR spokeswoman said there was extensive flood damage to the building which required it to be stripped and cleaned.

"We are continuing to investigate options for the full reopening of the Transit Centre," the spokeswoman said at the time.

"We want to at least get the toilets and seating in a usable condition and have everything else gradually fixed until the centre is fully reopened."

However this week, the Department of Transport and Main Roads, which took over management of the transit centre, said it was too expensive to repair.

"The bill to repair the old Transit Centre would be more than $1.5 million and we believe this money would be better spent on newer, improved options for drivers and passengers," a spokesman said.

He said Westside Buses had moved their stops to Bell St and long distance coaches were also using Bell St, while layover facilities had been moved to Riverlink shopping centre.

That included a new drivers' break room being built at the centre, the spokesman said.

"While this is being built, drivers can lay over at the shopping centre and use portable bathroom facilities."

However, that arrangement has angered bus drivers who were used to using the transit centre facilities.

Transport Workers Union (TWU) passenger transport co-ordinator Bob Giddens said drivers were fed up with their poor treatment.

"The drivers are very upset and they've had enough. They need an air-conditioned lunch room and toilets," Mr Giddens said.

"They do the best job they can and yet I've heard of cases of drivers having to pull up and run over behind the bushes.

"The women are treated the same. It's horrendous out there."

Late last week, TransLink said it had installed temporary lunch room and toilet facilities at Ipswich Transit Centre for bus drivers.

A TransLink spokesman said they would be available for drivers to use early this week.

"The facilities will remain onsite for drivers while TransLink investigates more permanent options," the spokesman said.

He said the Department of Transport and Main Roads was "currently examining future developments for the Ipswich Transit Centre site".



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