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People of Orange, from Monday you can hail a bus even if you're not at a designated stop. Woot

September 8, 2022

A cardboard bus sitting on a table with Transport for NSW promotional items, as Sam Farraway MLC speaks to media in the background. Copyright: Orange News Examiner.

By Peter Holmes

The people of Orange will be able to track buses via an app and see how many people are on board under an overhauled transport system for the city unveiled at Robertson Park on Thursday.

Passengers will also be able to hail buses to pull over even if they're not at a bus stop. Known as "hail and ride", it will put an end to running for the bus.

These were among a series of changes to be introduced in Orange from Monday. There will be 200 extra weekly services, an increase of 30 percent, and new cross city routes.

There will also be new Sunday services every 60 minutes.

The project is one of 16 being rolled out in regional areas across the state. It is aimed at getting people to break habits, leave their cars at home and use public transport.

Upper house MP Sam Farraway, senior representatives from Transport for NSW and Orange Buslines, Orange City Council staff, councillor Jack Evans, Crema café owner Arthur Aube, and a mother wheeled in at the last moment were among a cast of speakers.

Sam Farraway MLC addresses the media. Copyright: Orange News Examiner.

Farraway described it as "an exciting day for bus connectivity, better services and public transport here in Orange ... this will include a service every 30 minutes on weekdays and Saturdays, and hourly services on Sundays - these hourly services are a first, it's a massive increase".

He said that bus users will be able to travel from North Orange through the CBD to South Orange without having to change buses.

Geoff Ferris from Orange Buslines said that buses still only take cash, and that travellers should try and use coins or smaller denomination notes. Those with pension or social security cards could buy an all-day ticket for $2.50.

The scanner. Copyright: Orange News Examiner.

He said Transport for NSW was looking into cashless payment systems for the regions, however there was no timeline as to when this might be introduced.

"There will be a trial shortly," he said.

Ferris said it was "a big jump for the services in Orange".

"We have operated buses in Orange since 1944 and you can imagine how many services we ran in 1944.

"Will people use the buses? Once they appreciate how easy it is to catch a bus.

"Most people in Orange probably last caught a bus when they were in school and had to climb four steps to get into it. The bus today does not have a step it in - it's very easy to access, they can get on without having to climb steps and hold rails."

The tracking app would also apply to school buses running between Orange and Bathurst.

In urging people to download the app, councillor Jack Evans dropped a "Weird Al" Yancovic zinger, recalling the novelty artist's Another One Rides The Bus.

Orange Buslines executive Geoff Ferris can still work the wheel. Copyright: Orange News Examiner.

Arthur Aube said parking was an issue in the CBD and that anything that improved transport and removed cars from the city centre would be "good for the town".

A scanner is positioned above the entry to the bus. It will track people as they get on and off the bus, and within 60 seconds the information will appear on the app, thus allowing passengers to decide whether to catch a particular bus or wait for another one.

The new map.

At the end of proceedings Ferris said there were positions going at the company and urged anyone interested in driving buses to give them a call.

For more information on the new services see Transport for NSW and Orange Buslines.


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