BH ‘needs an Adelaide link’
Thursday, 16th March, 2017
By Daniel Stringer
A local travel agent has called for another train service between Broken Hill and Adelaide to make travel easier and cheaper for locals and tourists alike.
Cheryl Cuy is the manager of Hello World Broken Hill and she says that it has become more difficult and expensive to travel to Adelaide by public transport.
Since Great Southern Rail cut their pensioner and economy seating on the Indian Pacific in 2015, Mrs Cuy says there has been a decline in people choosing to travel by train.
She also says this has resulted in fewer tourists visiting Broken Hill from Adelaide.
“Since they have taken away coach travel on the Indian Pacific, over the past 12 months we have only sold one ticket,” Mrs Cuy said.
“Because of the $700 ticket price there has been a decline in tourists coming to Broken Hill from Adelaide, because a lot of groups travelled on the train.”
Earlier this month City Council announced it was lobbying for a second train between Broken Hill and Sydney to complement the Outback Explorer.
Mrs Cuy says that while there is merit in the idea, there is greater need for a Broken Hill to Adelaide train.
“A second Sydney service I don’t think is as important, because at the moment there are services to accommodate most people including pensioners and concession holders.
“Travel from Broken Hill to Adelaide on the other hand is really difficult and expensive for all people.
“So ideally we would love to have a coach train service from here to Adelaide once or twice a week to make it easier and cheaper.”
It isn’t only train travel that is causing transport headaches, as flights between Broken Hill and Sydney start from $450 one way.
Mrs Cuy describes it as a Catch 22 situation; if the prices were lower more people would use the flights.
“REX say they have put the prices up because less people are flying, but I think that if they reduced the fares they would find more people would choose to fly.
“We are finding that 90 per cent of people now will drive to either Adelaide or Mildura and then fly to Sydney.”
The Broken Hill to Sydney route is being considered by the NSW Government for deregulation, which would allow other airlines to offer flights.
While deregulation could result in cheaper fares, Mrs Cuy warned that it could also result in the city having no airline at all.
“I would like to think flight deregulation would make a difference, but in my experience every time a second airline comes into Broken Hill another always finishes up.
“Over the years people have complained about the price of REX flights, but at the end of the day expensive flights are better than none at all.”