Angry residents blockade bus in protest over route
RESIDENTS in a small and quiet Toowoomba street are angry dozens of buses a day have started coming past their houses as part of a new route.
The people living in Avondale St, Newtown took matters into their own hands at the weekend to protest the new route which was put in place earlier this month.
Resident David Doherty said he had many concerns about the buses using Avondale St, the main one being that they did not fit.
"The street is both ways but if two cars are passing each other they do have to be careful," he said.
"If there is one car parked in the street, one has to just wait for the other one to pass."
Mr Doherty and other residents demonstrated just that, parking their cars legally on the side of the road outside of their houses making it impossible for the bus to pass.
"I have got three vehicles, I parked them in a staggered fashion down the road," he said.
"The bus driver had to stop his engine at the start of the road when he realised he couldn't get past."
Mr Doherty said the bus driver was forced to radio into his manager and police were called to handle the situation. However officers said it was not a police issue as no offence had been committed.
Mr Doherty said the bus manager came to the street, which is marked as local traffic only, as well as a representative from Translink who told residents they were creating an unsafe environment for their drivers.
"However I have every legal right to park my vehicles there if I choose to do so," he said.
"There are no bus users in Avondale St. Everyone owns a car and if they do want to catch a bus they can go to (adjoining street) Gordon Ave."
Mr Doherty added there was no bus stop in the street and that it was "hail and ride".
Residents are now concerned about people loitering outside their homes and littering has increased as a result.
A petition has been started by a local resident, with about 80 per cent of residents objecting to the new route.
Mr Doherty suggested that Avondale St be taken off the bus route and instead the bus should turn left into Gordon St from Bridge St.
He said he believed the consultation period had not included Avondale St.
A Translink spokesman said the consultation occurred in September and October last year.
"Following consultation, route 907 was amended to no longer service stops on Bridge St between Gordon Ave and Holberton St, due to safety concerns at an unsignalised intersection," the spokesman said.
"Instead, the route 907 alignment travels along Avondale and Holberton Sts."
The spokesman said Translink worked closely with Toowoomba Regional Council to identify routes.
"All new routes were reviewed to ensure they could provide suitable thoroughfare, and while Avondale St is narrow, it is able to accommodate bus movements, and emergency services vehicles, when vehicles are parked on the street in an appropriate manner."
He said Translink would continue to monitor passenger usage and growth across Toowoomba to identify potential future opportunities.