Free Gong Shuttle still not a done deal

Everyone is still waiting for the government to officially approve a funding deal that would keep the Gong Shuttle free. Picture: Georgia Matts
Everyone is still waiting for the government to officially approve a funding deal that would keep the Gong Shuttle free. Picture: Georgia Matts

There is still no formal agreement to keep the Gong Shuttle free.

In November Transport for NSW announced it would introduce fares on January 29 – this Monday.

When the government refused to budge, the University of Wollongong and Wollongong City Council agreed to fund the shortfall to the tune of $350,000 each.

The remainder of the costs would be borne by the government, in line with other public transport.

While the government later pledged to continue to fully fund the shuttle until June 30, it is yet to commit to the funding deal with UOW and council.

In a short response to questions, a Transport for NSW spokesman confirmed no deal regarding the funding agreement has been made.

“Transport for NSW has had discussions with Wollongong Council and these will continue in the coming weeks,” the spokesman said.

Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery expects the government will officially approve the joint funding offer from council and the University of Wollongong soon.

Cr Bradbery said the government had agreed to the deal but hadn’t made it official.

“I haven’t formally received anything back but there’s an informal understanding that it will continue,” Cr Bradbery said.

“The shuttle is working outside my office at the present moment and I haven’t heard anything to the contrary.”

Wollongong MP Paul Scully felt the deal would ultimately be accepted.

“If it’s not done I would be stunned by the arrogance of the government who wouldn’t take on that offer from the university and Wollongong City Council,” Mr Scully said.

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