51 days of Absolute Wilderness
The bus services in Tasmania are so rigid. The regular long term operators have developed a stranglehold on the various scheduled services, have become less concerned with providing appropriate services and more focused on protecting their revenues gained from government subsidies.
RoamWild Tasmania expressed interest in the Strahan to Burnie service when it was trialled which provoked the wrath of long standing incumbent operators who, as we learned from the wretched experience, are able to manipulate the bureaucracy in a cartel type manner. First, they made certain that we were not able to the tender for the service. Then they just plain bullied and manipulated to maintain their own desired status quo. Then, the company who unsurprisingly...wait, I was going to type there 'unsurprisingly won the tender', but really they were given the job so effectively there was no real tender process at all. They then directly contacted people that were in our employ at the time offering them employment to drive it and 'keep this confidential', was the stipulation!
4 years later Redline decide that they will no longer provide the service for Zeehan secondary students attending Mountain Heights school in Queenstown. We again expressed interest but no consideration was ever communicated to us.
Just weeks later our government announced that the Strahan to Hobart service, which Tassielink were providing, was not getting enough passengers so the subsidy will no longer be made available and the service will be cancelled. Well, Tassielink and co don't lose, they get an increase in subsidy to provide a 7 day a week service to Burnie instead. Government spin it as an improvement to the public passenger transport and then announce $300K to subsidise a same day return air service trial between Hobart and Strahan for a year.
We thought, let's separate from the bureaucratic system and just go to Hobart reactive to bookings without any subsidy. We advertised it on this website and got a call about a week later...
'Hello, RoamWild Tasmania?, we have organised a walking expedition and just learned there's no longer a bus service, can you help?'
Exciting stuff this! We ended up with four moves just for these most intrepid bushwalker types, three to and from Hobart and one from Launceston. On the last Strahan to Hobart we had two students travel back to Strahan with us. It has given us enough optimism to persevere.
It is obvious that passenger services to and from the west can be vastly improved if our government and bureaucracy recognise the specific logistic required for the western journey.
And if they can grow a spine and pull some heads from the trough.
Check this little video of our last trip from Strahan to Hobart with some great people. I am more than a little in awe of them, I mean, we consider ourselves to be fairly outdoorsy....having done quite a bit of trekking around Tasmania's wild west, y'know RoamWild Tasmania and all. But this expedition is way beyond anything we have undertaken.
Well, gotta run as we just got a call from a parent of a thirteen year old student who has to get from Strahan back to Hobart for school.