The airport bus that lasted longer than JetGo flights

A bus designed to take people to and from the Illawarra Regional Airport has been dropped after an unsuccessful trial. Picture: Adam McLean
A bus designed to take people to and from the Illawarra Regional Airport has been dropped after an unsuccessful trial. Picture: Adam McLean

A bus that ran to and from Illawarra Regional Airport managed to outlast the JetGo flights it was designed to service.

In October 2017, Transport for NSW announced a trial of a bus that would stop at the Illawarra Regional Airport.

Run by Premier Illawarra, it would stop at six locations, including the airport, the Novotel Northbeach and Stockland Shellharbour.

The bus timetable was designed to coincide with the arrival and departure times of JetGo services at the airport.

The trial was due to end on July 1, however the state government cancelled the service early, on June 15.

That’s two weeks after the trouble-plagued JetGo cancelled all flights and went into administration.

A Transport for NSW spokesman said the reason for the early cancellation of the trial was due to the fact there were no longer any commercial flights from Illawarra Regional Airport.

But even if there were, it would appear unlikely that the Route 59 bus would have survived past July 1.

In April this year, the Mercury reported on the poor patronage of the service to that point.

Back then, around 2300 trips had been taken on the bus, with less than 5 per cent being to or from the airport.

That meant fewer than 115 people had used the bus to get to or from the airport.

The news in April didn’t inspire more people to use the bus.

“Fewer than five per cent of the 3450 Opal trips made on Route 59 since October 2017 were arriving or departing from the airport,” a Transport for NSW spokesman said after the trial was cancelled.

That means less than 172 people with a JetGo ticket opted to ride the bus.

“Given the very low patronage, and with commercial flights no longer operating from the airport, Transport for NSW made the decision to end the trial early on 15 June instead of 1 July,” the spokesman said.

“Customers who used this service to travel to other destinations like Wollongong Station or Stockland Shellharbour will be able to catch route 51 and 53 buses.”

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