Red tape stalls free bus

Volunteer driver Bill Vine is bemused that the free uni shop bus service must cease as a result of bureaucracy.
Volunteer driver Bill Vine is bemused that the free uni shop bus service must cease as a result of bureaucracy. John Mccutcheon

A FREE church-run bus service which ferries university students to their local grocery store has been put off the road by government red tape.

Queensland Transport, acting on a complaint, has told the Chancellor Park Community Church that it cannot run its "uni shop bus" because it is in breach of the Transport Operations (Passenger Transport) legislation.

The bus shuttles up to 30 students from the Varsity Central apartments next to the church to and from the Chancellor Park Shopping Centre every Tuesday and Thursday night.

At the heart of the issue is whether university students should be defined as the general public.

Pastor Graham Kell said the bus appeared to be exempt from the department's accreditation and authorisation requirements according to its own documents because it was not for the general public.

A Queensland Transport online information bulletin headed Community and Courtesy Transport Services lists community transport for university students as an example of a service not available to the general public.

However, a Queensland Transport staff member has deemed that, by leaving the student accommodation, the bus is available to the general public.

The church has stopped the bus while the matter is in dispute.

Mr Kell said the church had removed a sign at its pick-up point and offered to accept only university students with valid ID cards to ensure that it was not used by the general public but that had not been acceptable to the Transport staffer.

"I do understand the need for regulations. What I don't understand is when regulations over-rule common sense and stop people helping people, especially when we tick all the boxes those regulations require," Mr Kell said.

"This appears to me to be nothing more than a case of governance gone mad and one person's grudge over-ruling basic community decency."

A Transport and Main Roads spokesman said last nightthat the department would work with the church to resolve the matter as quickly as possible.

Topics:  queensland transport

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