Local NSW Government MPs announce funding agreement
Member for Heathcote Lee Evans MP and Member for Kiama Gareth Ward MP have today announced that customers can continue to make free trips on the popular ‘Gong Shuttle’ beyond June this year after a new funding agreement was reached between Transport for NSW, Wollongong Council and the University of Wollongong.
Member for Heathcote Lee Evans said that this was good news for locals who use the free of charge bus service, which connects customers to key destinations like Wollongong Station, Wollongong CBD, the University of Wollongong and the beach.
“We are pleased to reach this outcome and thankful to Wollongong Council and the University of Wollongong for their contribution which will keep the much loved Gong Shuttle in service for the next few years at least,” Mr Evans said.
“The new agreement, which will be in place from 1 July 2021 until 30 June 2024, sees the funding contribution of both the University and Council maintained.
“A minor adjustment to Saturday service hours will be required to cover a gap in funding due to rising operational costs including driver wages, fuel and vehicle maintenance.
“Saturday operating hours, which currently run from 8am to 6pm, will be adjusted to run from 9.40am to 5.20pm.
“This is the same as what’s available on Sundays, making it a much easier and simpler timetable for customers to understand,” Mr Evans said.
Member for Kiama Gareth Ward said that the frequency of the service will also importantly remain the same at 20 minute intervals.
“There will be minimal impact as we have made the adjustments at times when we know the least amount of customers are using the Saturday services, which are earlier in the morning and later in the afternoon,” Mr Ward said.
“However, the small number of affected customers will still have access to other transport options to get them to their destination.
“The Saturday service adjustment will take effect from 3rd July this year.
“The Gong shuttle is the only free public transport option available to customers across our State.
“Pre COVID-19, the service was used by more than three million customers on average, per year,” Mr Ward concluded.