CATCHING a coach to Sydney or Brisbane from Tamworth has become a thing of the past after a major company pulled the pin on its New England Highway route.
Greyhound Australia has suspended all coach services between Sydney and Brisbane via inland NSW after flailing passenger numbers.
The company said without the numbers the service, which runs through Tenterfield, Glen Innes, Guyra, Armidale, Uralla, Tamworth and down through the Hunter, could no longer continue.
Greyhound Australia said in a written statement to The Leader the inland route was financially un-viable.
“Despite trying multiple initiatives, in order to improve passenger volumes so we can continue to service the local communities on this route, they have proven to be unsuccessful,” National Sales Manager Dan Smith said.
“Our load volumes have been consistently under our breakeven point, which is the definitive reason for the suspension.
“So with this in mind, Greyhound Australia can no longer financially justify operating the daily inland service between Brisbane and Sydney via the New England Highway.”
The daily inland route straight through the New England region has been in operation for decades but has suffered a hit to passenger numbers in recent years, according to the company.
Parliamentary Secretary for Northern NSW and Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall said the service loss would be felt by his electorate.
“It’s always disappointing to see the loss of services to regional NSW,” he told The Leader.
“The coach service has had dwindling numbers as more people choose to drive, or fly or catch the train.
“I have no doubt constituents in my electorate will feel the effects of this.”
It’s understood the company had tried unsuccessfully to boost numbers over recent years but passenger numbers were stagnant, prompting the final removal of the inland service.
Mr Marshall said he understood it was a business decision but said it was unlikely such a service would return.
“Once we lose services in regional NSW it’s very hard to get them back,” he said.
“We need to ensure transport options that are affordable are available for regional and rural residents, and attracting a new provider to the area would be difficult if the demand is not there.”
The company suspended the New England Highway route earlier this month but will continue to operate it’s coastal route between Brisbane and Sydney, along the Pacific Highway.
“Greyhound’s coastal services between Brisbane and Sydney continue to operate in a very healthy state and remain unchanged,” Mr Smith said.