After all the soul searching over the future of the Blue CAT bus running from near Fremantle Railway Station on a loop through South Fremantle and back to the Station, a resolution has now been reached in the form of updated 532 bus service along much of the old CAT route.
And there’s some good news about a possible new CBD Tourist Bus for Freo.
If you missed all the excitement over the belling of the Blue Cat, you can catch up right here. In short, the Freo City Council decided only to continue funding the Blue CAT until the end of September.
A strong community reaction to the ceasing of the Blue CAT loop from Fremantle Station to South Beach, South Fremantle and back to the Station via the historic West End of Freo, led to consultations involving Simone McGurk, Freo MLA, Fremantle City Council, Transperth and representatives of the local South Ward Precinct, and ultimately produced resolution in the form of a reworked bus route designed to deliver a 15 minute bus service along or near to the old Blue CAT route.
The existing Transperth 532, which runs from the Station to Cockburn Central, from the end of September, will run every 15 minutes during the hours that the the CAT currently runs, including weekends and public holidays.
Every second 532 bus will do a short circuit along South Terrace, Fremantle and South Fremantle to a point on Hampton Road near the South Fremantle Shopping Centre (at the corner of Douro Road and Hampton Street), and then return to the Station along the same route. So, no more loop through the West End along Marine Terrace as the Blue CAT used to do on the return journey.
Every other 532 bus will go on to Cockburn and then back.
In effect, there will be a 15-minute frequency 532 ‘shuttle’ between South Fremantle Shopping Centre and Fremantle Station.
The 532 (including the shuttle) will be a normal fare-paying service but many people will, in effect, get free travel, including Concession card holders/Seniors outside of weekday peak hours, and those making longer journeys (eg, transferring at Fremantle Station for the train to Perth, as the train fare is the determinant of how much you pay to travel.
Because the shuttle will not be making the loop back to the Station via the West End, the returning shuttle will not provide easy access drop-offs to some locations like Fishing Boat Harbour, Bathers Beach, the Round House, Shipwrecks Museum and Esplanade Reserve, and also makes South Beach a less ‘visible’ and accessible destination, although it is not a long walk there from the South Terrace/Douro Road roundabout drop-off.
However, we are pleased to report there’s some potential good news. We are informed the City is about to go out seeking an EOI – an Expression of Interest – from a private operator to provide a CBD Tourist Bus service that would take in Fishing Boat Harbour, Victoria Quay and the Arts Centre, as well Fremantle’s famed Passenger Terminal when a cruise ship is docked in Freo. We understand the CBD Tourist Bus would operate as often as possible.
Wonder whether we’ll get a London double-decker or something a little smaller?
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