The expansion comes following a $75,000 funding commitment in the 2017-18 Budget and means that it is now a Canberra-wide service.
Since it’s commencement in 2014, Executive Director, Public Transport Operations David Matthews says the service has become highly regarded by customers and those who work with older people and has provided over 55,000 individual passenger trips.
“This free service was designed to meet the needs of seniors and those Canberran’s who have a disability or are mobility impaired and do not find it easy or unable to catch a regular bus service,” Mr Matthews says.
“Destinations include local shopping centres where the weekly grocery shop can happen and locations that offer easy access to banking, post office, medical appointments or simply a chance to catch up with friends for a coffee.
“Currently we are supporting the Legacy group by providing transport to link their regular meetings.
“The service has developed far beyond a simple trip from one point to another... it’s a real opportunity for people who are isolated to make new friends and be linked to services that allow them to play a meaningful part in community life.”
Some of those who utilise the service have provided feedback and say it’s allowing them more independence, that they’ve made new friends and check in on each other when they aren’t on the bus, and that the staff and drivers are all very friendly and helpful.
Mr Matthews says the flexible service is able to offer more to customers, resulting in a good experience.
“The service is not overly time critical and this allows the driver to take more time to assist customers,” he says.
“This personalised service provides a great level of satisfaction and security to our customers.”
A review will be held for the inner north connection of the Flexible Bus Service following it’s 12 month trial in September 2018 and will investigate the viability of the service moving forward and look at patronage levels and customer satisfaction.
In addition to the Flexible Bus Service, the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) offers free off-peak travel on its public bus network to all senior and concession cardholders as part of another 12-month trial by Transport Canberra.
Victoria offers seniors with free myki cards, concession prices as well as free travel on Saturdays and Sundays in zones 1 and 2; with New South Wales (NSW) also issuing their Gold Opal Cards for free with travel concession being capped at $2.50 per day.
Tasmania and Queensland both offer concessions to those who hold seniors and pension cards, with Queensland concessions extending to TransLink, qconnect, and regional ferry service.
Western Australia (WA) and South Australia (SA) both offer free travel during varying off-peak periods and all day Saturday and Sunday, and concession at other times, with SA including free transport on all Public Holidays.
More information on state based services for seniors is available via individual state governments.