Community keeps buses running
A LOW act in Nambucca Heads, which saw two community transport buses firebombed by vandals, has been overshadowed by the hard work of staff who've kept services running and the generosity of business houses.
Coffs Harbour, Bellingen & Nambucca Community Transport Inc was left shocked when a 20-seater Mitsubishi Rosa and a Toyota Hiace people mover were destroyed by fire in Riverside Dr, Nambucca Heads.
All the signs pointed to arson and the loss of the buses has thrown into limbo the travel plans of frail and aged local residents and people with disabilities, as well as local community, school and choir groups and sporting teams.
Serving communities with virtually no public transport, the two buses were used to complete more than 75,000 passenger trips, Coffs Harbour, Bellingen & Nambucca Community Transport Inc manager Bethany Simmonds said.
"The destruction of our buses is going to put a real strain on us and our passengers; we will, however, do our utmost to continue the transport, and we will not let these destructive elements in our area affect our service," Ms Simmonds said.
As word of the destruction spread, the community response was immediate as it rallied to help.
The Nambucca Leagues Club came forward offering its courtesy bus free of charge, while buses were supplied by Bellingen Community Transport to meet travel needs in Nambucca Heads.
Fleet manager training and OH&S co-ordinator Col Green said the service had had an amazing response to its subsequent insurance claims.
"After Skinners Toyota found out what happened they got in contact with Toyota and have found a commuter bus for us; K and J trucks have also helped us to find a new Rosa; and the company which modifies our buses with wheelchair facilities, Accessible Transit Specialists, have made us a priority, they are going to move our modifications up the line to get the buses to us by Christmas," Mr Green said.