Launceston residents whose regular bus no longer goes past the Launceston General Hospital should instead transfer to a second bus at one of the city's transport hubs, the Department of State Growth has advised.
The Examiner has received regular letters to the editor from residents across Launceston since the new Metro bus routes came into effect in January, with most concerned about buses that no longer travel along Charles Street.
Concerns ranged from elderly and disabled passengers on the 165 route having to walk from Bathurst or Wellington street to the hospital and other health clinics, to the removal of bus stops in Summerhill adding travel time for school children and creating congestion elsewhere.
Related: Metro bus route changes implemented
A spokesperson for the Department of State Growth said passengers were encouraged to transfer for free to other buses that travel down Charles Street if they needed to access the LGH.
"We acknowledge that Summerhill residents no longer have direct access to the LGH and medical facilities along Charles Street however they can transfer in the city to the Kings Meadows Turn Up and Go service or the Prospect route with buses every 15 minutes," he said.
"Changes to the bus routes for Summerhill and West Launceston have been designed to create more consistency for the area, making bus travel to the city easier for both existing and new passengers."
The changes also prompted a group of residents in South Launceston to petition the City of Launceston to change the relocation of a bus stop.
The department spokesperson said the routes were designed to minimise travel times for all passengers, and feedback was being monitored.
"Changes to the Launceston bus network aim to achieve the right balance between smart route design to reduce travel times for passengers and ensuring services meet a broad range of transport needs, including accessing health services," he said.
The route development included public consultation.