At the end of December 2017, residents on KI were alarmed to read on social media that as from January 1 2018, Sealink bus drivers would no longer pick up or drop off elderly residents (even with doctor referrals) directly to their homes.
That particular story grew and grew, with fears that many elderly relatives would be unable to travel as they could not reach the bus or their homes, unaided.
The Islander received a letter from a KI resident stating that, “I live one kilometre from the designated drop-off point in Penneshaw, up a very steep hill and I am 86 years old.
“I am prepared to walk down to the ferry, but do not feel I could carry my luggage up that hill, especially at night.”
The General Manager of Sealink Travel Group, Donna Gauci, has now responded to the social media post as follows:
“Thank you to everyone that has raised concern and commented on this post.
“The Sealink shuttle service operates under a license issued by Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure to provide a bus service between Kingscote and Penneshaw, for the transportation of people picked up and dropped off from designated bus stops along the route.
“This service is not designed to be a door-to-door service and our timetable does not allow for this.
“Sealink values the community of KI and over the years we have helped a few elderly residents, on occasions, by collecting them from their address due to certain personal circumstances, generally supported by a doctors certificate.
“Over time our ability to offer this to some individuals who require a lot more personal assistance than we are able to provide, has caused concern and therefore we will work with those families on identifying alternative arrangements.
“In addition, we will be undertaking a full review of this practice as there has been occasions where the shuttle has been significantly delayed, the vehicle has sustained damage accessing properties and our helpful drivers are being requested to undertake duties that are not in the scope of their role.
“Like many practices that have evolved over time, we need to ensure that this one is managed effectively and safely for all concerned.”
For assistance in the future, it may help to visit these websites: ndis.gov.au/about-us/our-sites/SA.html