A move to relocate a Nagambie coach stop has left residents feeling ignored and isolated.
As of August 23, the V/Line coach stop at the corner of Marie and High Sts will be moved permanently to Nagambie Railway Station.
Residents are concerned that moving the stop to the train station, which is 1km from the centre of town, would threaten their mobility and independence.
The Telegraph understands that moving the stop will allow Strathbogie Shire Council to free up parking space near the lake and the Black Caviar Statue, as well as for the development of a purpose-built Visitor Information Centre, which is being funded privately funded.
Council was contacted for comment by The Telegraph, but did not respond before deadline.
Nagambie residents have said that insufficient lighting and shelter at the station makes them feel unsafe, and the lack of footpaths leading up to the station is a problem.
‘‘I don’t feel safe up there unless there’s someone else at the platform,’’ Nagambie resident Theresa Hall said.
‘‘I feel that if they take it up to the station there’s people, more than me, who would just never use it again.’’
Mrs Hall, who is nearly 87, relies on the coach service to get to medical appointments in Seymour, Melbourne and Shepparton.
She said the additional 1km each way would have a big impact on elderly people’s bodies.
‘‘You can’t always get a taxi in this town,’’ Mrs Hall said.
‘‘I often have to rely on people’s charity to take me to doctor’s appointments because there’s no taxi available.’’
In the 2016 census Nagambie ranked as one of the fastest ageing populations in the region with an average age of 55.
Diane Grant, who wrote to council and V/Line to voice her concern about the change, said there was no other shuttle or back-up service for the people living in the area who relied on the service.
‘‘All of these people still want to be mobile,’’ Mrs Grant said.
‘‘They still want to have that little bit of independence, because once you lose that you’re just ready for the cemetery.’’
It’s understood the station was highlighted as the preferred location for the new stop when discussed between council, V/Line and community representatives.
‘‘Having everything in the one place will make it much easier because passengers know their journey will start and finish at the same place,’’ V/Line spokesperson Ebony Jordan said.
‘‘This is something V/Line, the council and community have worked on together so it’s a really positive outcome.’’
But residents maintain they were not properly consulted on the changes.
‘‘It’s a really good, reliable service for us, we don’t want it to stop, but the shire didn’t even ask us or stand up for us,’’ Mrs Grant said.
‘‘We have a representative on the working committee and they didn’t even ask, ‘do you mind if we move the bus?’
‘‘It’s been important to me so much medically, and for getting to the airport because my children live in Queensland and Canberra.’’
Mrs Grant estimates the bus service has saved her more than $200 in parking when travelling to the airport and upwards of $30 a day for visits to some of Melbourne’s hospitals.
‘‘I can get off at North Melbourne and get to the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, the Royal Women’s or the Royal Melbourne Hospital in under 10 minutes,’’ she said.
‘‘All those connections are saving pensioners so much money.’’