Thursday, February 29, 2024


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

Elderly Local Shines Light On Inaccessible New Bus Stop

Arthur Gutteridge, an eighty-seven-year-old resident of Mackay, has raised a significant concern regarding the accessibility challenges faced by elderly locals due to the construction of a new bus-stop area in front of Caneland Central on Mangrove Road.

Despite assurances of enhanced safety and accessibility, Arthur highlights the impractical and worrying reality that many older individuals endure with the new designated bus stop.

Expressing his concerns through letters to various authorities, Arthur feels ignored and unsupported, emphasising the vital importance of flat ground for individuals with mobility issues. He argues that the back entrance of Caneland Central, where the bus stop used to be, provides safer access for pensioners, parents with prams, and those with mobility impairments.

Cover caption: Arthur Gutteridge, 87, voices concerns over accessibility challenges at the new bus stop outside Caneland Central, highlighting the importance of safety and flat ground for elderly residents and individuals with mobility issues. Photo credit: Hannah McNamara

Safety For The Buses, Safety For The Locals

By Hannah McNamara

Eighty-seven-year-old Arthur Gutteridge has spoken out about a crucial problem that Mackay local ‘oldies’ are currently facing in regards to transportation changes at Caneland Central Shopping Centre.

A newly constructed bus-stop area is now in use, located at the front of Caneland Central on Mangrove Road where it is said to be safer and easier for everyone to access.

Arthur has highlighted the potential risks of the new bus stop, underlining the impractical, brutal reality of what ‘oldies’ are forced to endure following the construction of the new designated bus stop.

In an attempt to keep the old designated bus area, Arthur has written a letter to multiple people in authority to express his concerns, where he said he was completely ignored by several individuals, leaving him feeling unheard and unsupported despite having good reasoning behind his appeal.

“One time we were a person, then we were a number and now we’re a nobody,” Arthur explains.

“It’s the old Aussie way of saying she’ll be right, but it’s not alright.”

“They expect me to walk all that way and up the ramp with my wheelie walker, my feet and back are no good, like a lot of other oldies.

“We have no way of getting into the front of Canelands.”

He emphasises the vital importance of a flat ground as many locals cannot withstand the pain of walking up an inclined slope, such as ramps or a staircase. This problem not only affects him, but many other older residents as he voices his concern, stating a valid point that the back entrance of Caneland Central provides safer access for all individuals, including pensioners, parents with prams as well as those with mobility and balance issues.

Arthur says, “With access points such as banks, internet services, insurance and other necessities close by what more could us oldies wish for.”  

The new bus stop area in comparison requires individuals to walk a further distance, from the front of Mangrove Road to the main Woolworths entrance, where locals are then forced to walk up a flight of stairs or a ramp to gain access to the centre. For the average Jo, walking up a ramp seems easy enough, but for Arthur and many other locals, it is painful and can take hours, or even days to recover from the agony and discomfort stemming from sore feet, knees or a bad back.

“This means a spell in the afternoon, or two to three days to get over the trip if we have to use the front entrance,” Arthur says.

To combat this issue, Arthur suggests turning the new designated bus area into a taxi rank, keeping bus drivers, passengers and pedestrians safe.

Whilst government officials claim to provide a safer and accessible bus stop for all bus users, bus drivers and oncoming traffic, Arthur replies: “What a joke, those buses have to get out into two lanes,” highlighting the potential risk of increased accidents as buses pull out onto Mangrove Road, into high traffic conditions.

Additionally, Arthur vocalises his concerns of parents getting off the bus with children who could possibly wander off onto the busy street, stating that the back entrance of the shopping centre is less congested and far safer for all Mackay residents.

Caption: Artist impression of the new bus stop on Mangrove Road

Arthur Gutteridge says the new bus stop makes accessing Caneland Central Shopping Centre more difficult for people with mobility issues

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