Urgent need for transport links

Gaps in public transport options across Macedon Ranges' east has seen Romsey and Lancefield Neighbourhood Houses take matters into their own hands.

A targeted investigation into missing links has highlighted an urgent need for improved access to medical appointments and social connections.

"We're studying the needs and where the gaps are in services through a survey and talking to people in the community about their needs," said Michelle Balthazer, Romsey Neighbourhood House coordinator.

"We have been overwhelmed with issues around the lack of transport particularly for those who need to access medical appointments which is a real concern. Medical centres have verified they are inundated with people needing better transport access."

Ms Balthazer said issues reaching both local and Melbourne appointments was a common theme. She said many people in the district did not qualify for non-emergency patient transport to medical appointments in Melbourne as the towns were close to Melbourne's fringe.

Transport was also considered a key link to improving social connections with people expressing interest in accessing swimming pools, gyms and larger shopping precincts. Better links to Melbourne for education was another issue raised.

Various concepts are being considered including a possible volunteer community car-based service or a community bus service run through the Neighbourhood Houses.

The Neighbourhood Houses are now seeking volunteer drivers for a pilot program.

The Neighbourhood Houses are in the final weeks of collecting data from a community survey and will use this information to respond to the community's needs. Survey respondents have included a variety of people of all ages.

The survey is available at Romsey and Lancefield Neighbourhood Houses as well as local medical centres, post offices and online.


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