No end to bus shelter impasse

Patrick Solomons stands at a Keysclere Avenue bus stop with the removed shelter space. 237804_05 Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS

By Cam Lucadou-Wells

To the frustration of PT passengers, the list of disappearing bus-stop shelters across Greater Dandenong grows on.

At a council meeting on 24 May, councillors listed three further missing shelters on top of a known removal on Kingsclere Avenue, opposite Parkmore shopping centre.

They were outside an aged-care home on Outlook Drive, Dandenong, near the corner of Hammond and Kirkham roads, Dandenong South, and on Corrigan Road near Kingsclere Avenue, Keysborough.

Cr Bob Milkovic noted that aged-care residents on Outlook Drive depended on the bus service for shopping trips and faced a “challenge” without a shelter in winter.

But the bureaucratic impasse between the council and the Department of Transport over who will replace the shelters shows no sign of abating.

Greater Dandenong Council argues that the state department is responsible for bus stop infrastructure including bus shelters.

However according to the Department of Transport, the council has a contract with a private operator oOh! Media for the shelter.

The department is “unable to manage shelters within the locality” until the contract’s expiry in 2025.

Commuters have also recently called for the reinstatement of a bus shelter opposite Parkmore shopping centre on Kingsclere Avenue.

The council removed the “old council asset” because it was deemed “structurally unsound”.

Regular bus passenger and retiree Patrick Solomons suggested the council could install a “brand new” shelter that was mysteriously erected in Scott Street near Robinson Street Dandenong.

There is no bus stop at the site, just a row of car parking bays.

“Someone dropped a clanger,” Mr Solomons said of the dumbfounding placement.

“Someone could now get a crane, and I can go down there and give them instructions on where to put it.”

There are more than 200 bus shelters across City of Greater Dandenong. About 55 are managed by the council.

According to the department, the council is removing 12 “dilapidated” bus shelters. But there was no word on who is funding any replacements.

Engineering director Paul Kearsley said until the matter was resolved, the council would remove no further of its bus shelters unless unsafe.

“We believe there are currently no contractual reasons preventing the DoT from installing non-advertising shelters within Greater Dandenong.

“None of the old shelters which have been removed were advertising shelters, so could be replaced with non-advertising shelters.”

Mr Kearsley said the council would work with the department to find a “workable and common sense solution”.

“We seek their ongoing involvement to bring this to a satisfactory close for all parties but especially those using the local bus services.”