A second V/Line coach will now stop in Merrigum on weekday mornings after residents expressed concern over public transport availability.
Merrigum Post Office Newsagency owner Angela Spedding said patronage had increased on the Shepparton to Kyabram leg of the 5.15am weekday coach service from Barmah to Southern Cross Station.
“The last few months we have had people with reserved seating tickets not getting on the bus because the bus is full of school kids,” Mrs Spedding said.
She said an elderly couple had to wait for the 9.15am bus last week to take them to Melbourne.
“They had reserved the tickets the week before, and when the bus arrived it was full,” Mrs Spedding said.
“They had to sit there and wait for the next bus, which then got them to Melbourne an hour-and-a-half late for their appointment at the hospital.”
Merrigum couple Johnny Birmingham and Simone Scutchings said they relied on public transport to get them to appointments in Shepparton and Kyabram.
“We came into town at 6am on Monday to reserve tickets for the 8am, but when it arrived there was only one seat left so we were told they would organise a taxi,” Mr Birmingham said.
“We waited for the taxi for an hour-and-a-half in the rain, and Simone has fibromyalgia so she can’t be out in those conditions. In the end we had to ring relatives to pick us up and take us to Kyabram.”
A V/Line spokesperson said some passengers were unable to reserve their seating in advance because they travelled on yearly passes or travelled from towns which did not have ticket agents.
They said this resulted in passengers needing to purchase a ticket once they boarded the service.
“Due to an increase in the patronage of coach services between Shepparton and Kyabram, we are adding an extra coach to the morning service on school days,'' the spokesperson said.
“We continually work with schools across the state to ensure that our services can cater for all passengers.”
The spokesperson said the additional coach would operate on school days between Shepparton and Kyabram, arriving and departing at the same times as the current service.