Iconic bus service could be parked
The future of Manly’s iconic Hop, Skip and Jump bus is in doubt, after Pittwater councillors – led by Alex McTaggart – called for a comprehensive review into the service, which they claim costs ratepayers $1.8 million annually.
The fleet of Hop, Skip and Jump community buses – which runs seven days a week around the suburbs of Manly, Manly Vale, Fairlight, Balgowlah, Balgowlah Heights, Clontarf and Seaforth – was originally sponsored by Stockland Balgowlah (where it is based) before Manly Council took on the funding.
At a recent Council meeting, the councillors suggest it is “inequitable and unfair” on Northern Beaches residents outside of Manly and surrounds to have to foot the bill.
“I’m prepared to accept if you can make the service revenue neutral then I don’t have an issue with that, but I don’t see why the rest of the LGA should be subsidising the Manly residents $1.8m for buses that run parallel to government buses. It doesn’t pass any conceivable, rational test,” Councillor McTaggart said.
Deputy Mayor Candy Bingham, who’s a Manly councillor, welcomed a review, however she also stressed the importance of the service going forward.
“It’s always busy. It’s not just elderly people, a lot of young people use it to get to school bus connections, disadvantaged people use it. The whole community uses it,” she said.