Steve Barrett says it's frustrating to see the re-routed 655 bus pass right by his home only to drop him 6km away instead. Picture: Gera Kazakov

Bus line footy fumble?

Forrestfield Fremantle supporter Steve Barrett says the 655 stadium bus re-routing has seen his journey home now take up to two hours on a Sunday.
March 28, 2024
Gera Kazakov

FOOTY season might be just beginning, but for one Forrestfield Fremantle supporter it’s never felt so far away due to re-routing of the stadium bus service.

Steven Barrett used to rely on the 655 stadium bus route which runs from Kalamunda bus station to Optus Stadium, but since the service has been re-routed out of Forrestfield to instead go through High Wycombe and the suburb’s train station, he said his journey to the game using public transport has gone from taking 45 minutes to up to two hours on a Sunday.

He said the 655 stadium bus route used to run down Kalamunda Road, before taking Hawtin Road all the way through to Hale Road and turning right at Tonkin Highway and onto the stadium.

But after High Wycombe train station opened, the bus now turns off Hawtin Road onto Maida Vale Road, going to the train station, then down Dundas Road, before turning right at Berkshire Road – but not to go into Forrestfield, but to deviate onto Roe Highway to get onto Tonkin.

The new route is a cruel irony for Mr Barrett, as he said the bus now passes 600m from his house when on the highway, but if he takes it home, he instead disembarks 6km away at High Wycombe station.

“It’s actually closer for me to walk to Roe highway itself than it is to walk to the bus station here on Hale Road, but of course, it’s 100kmh speed limit – you wouldn’t want the bus to stop there,” he said.

“But it’s so frustrating to drive past, because when we’re coming back from the game, I can see the palm trees in the back of my house, and where it drops me is 6km away.”

Mr Barrett said he has been in contact with Forrestfield MLA Stephen Price – who said other residents have also complained to him about the re-routing – and Transport Minister Rita Saffioti, who’s office informed him that sending the bus through Forrestfield on Hale Road was considered but was scrapped as it “would add about seven minutes of additional journey time to each trip.”

For Mr Barrett, that response is not good enough.

“I think it’s arrogant, absolute arrogance,” he said.

“Seven minutes, really, and you saw that it cost me either side of the game, and I missed the first quarter of the game.”

Mr Barrett is referring to his journey to and from the round one game where Brisbane was defeated by the Dockers at home.

What should have been elation was instead marred by a two-hour journey back home via the 655 route, as when he arrived at High Wycombe station he had just missed the adjoining 270 into Forrestfield, and had to wait an hour for the next one to arrive.

Public Transport Authority spokesman David Hynes said since the change was introduced, patronage on the 655 has increased sharply (29 per cent for Dockers games and 58 per cent for Eagles), and High Wycombe Station has become the second busiest stop for buses behind Kalamunda Bus Station.

“When the Airport Line became operational in October 2022, the Route 655 special-event bus service was realigned to operate via High Wycombe station,” he said.

“This was considered a more efficient use of the service and allows eastern suburbs residents more options for getting to events at Perth Stadium.”

Echo News questioned why the 655 doesn’t follow Berkshire Road into suburban Forrestfield before turning onto Hale Road and joining onto Tonkin Highway, but Mr Hynes said it was not considered “because it would add up to 15 minutes for each return trip.”

“As is the case with every mass-transit system across the world, providing a perfect solution to get everyone from their desired point A to point B – specially without a transfer – is not always possible.”

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