Shuttle bus companies in the Snowy Mountains fear they will be wiped out by a new state-funded service connecting Jindabyne with nearby ski resorts.
- Bus companies say a new transport service in the Snowy Mountains will “devastate” the local industry
- The trial is set to begin this snow season
- Companies say the new service will cause more financial strain as the region deals with the impacts of Greater Sydney’s lockdown
Transport for NSW is set to run a trial service from Jindabyne to Perisher and Thredbo beginning on Friday August 6, which will see buses running every 20 minutes on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays for the rest of the snow season.
Shuttle services usually cost about $50 per person for a round trip to the snowfields, but a return ticket on the new service will only set passengers back $20.
Snowy Mountains Shuttles owner Brett Ryland says local transport operators will not be able to compete.
“Everyone’s devastated — we can’t survive,” he said.
“There’s not enough work now for me and one bus and they’ve got twelve 50-seat buses that are going to go around.
Driven to fury
Transport operators from across the Snowy Mountains expressed their outrage at a public meeting held by the Jindabyne Action Group on Tuesday night.
Operators said the new service would put all seven transport businesses in the region at risk.
Snow Connect and Snowlink owner Leanne Harrison said the trial would crush her business, which was aleady struggling with the impacts of the pandemic.
“It will take away 100 per cent of our shuttle business,” she said.
Park discount elsewhere
Ms Harrison is calling on Kosciuszko National Park to give other operators in the region discounted prices.
“When they can just come in and offer a $20 shuttle for one adult return, we can’t compete against that — it’s not a viable business for us,” she said.
St Moritz Ski Racing Club Thredbo president Shannon Ferguson said running a trial during the ongoing lockdowns was less than ideal.
“This year has been pretty easy going on the roads,” he said.
“I don’t think they will be able to work out their numbers very well this season with the lack of people up there.”
In a statement, Regional Transport and Roads Minister Paul Toole said the bus service was safer and more convenient than driving, especially for those not used to alpine conditions.
“We want everyone to enjoy our winter wonderlands this snow season, but the safety of operators and customers remains our priority,” he said.