NON-DRIVING Marong residents are struggling to access jobs and health appointments in Bendigo, without regular public transport to the city.
It comes after a petition for a bus service to Marong was ineligible for state parliament because signatures had been registered online rather than written down.
Just four V/Line services pass through the town each day, two to Bendigo, two to Swan Hill.
Read more: Marong campaigns for vital bus service
Marong resident Maggie McArdle said she would struggle to access follow up appointments after upcoming surgery that will leave her unable to drive.
She said it would make it hard for her to get to and from follow-up specialist appointments in Bendigo.
Ms McArdle's only income is the disability pension, a result of post traumatic stress disorder.
She said taxi prices were unrealistic for those on the pension: about $35 one way.
Ms McArdle said she was not eligible for taxi vouchers, which would give her 50 per cent off each trip.
To be eligible for the Victoria's taxi voucher program, a person must have a severe and permanent disability that a doctor deems is not likely to improve with treatment.
Ms McArdle said she was unable to use the Red Cross transport service because the time specialist clinics finished was uncertain.
Marong's young people are also affected by the lack of public transport options.
Siblings Madison and Liam Giofrelle started a petition in October, calling for a public transport link to Marong.
Within days it had accrued 500 signatures. An online version gained about 700 signatures, a paper version 400.
But Ms Giofrelle said the pair had been forced to start the process again, as petitions presented to state government must be hand-signed. She said this was taking a while to fill, as people were less eager the second time round.
Ms Giofrelle said the lack of transport services made students and elderly people, who could not drive, very dependent on others, such as parents or carers.
She said this also affected carers or parents lives, interrupting work commitments, leisure and day to day life.
Ms Giofrelle said her parents - both full time workers - had to spend a lot of time driving their three children around when she was growing up.
While Ms Giofrelle now had a driver's licence, both her siblings still had to rely on her parents or herself to drive them places.
She said a bus service would have helped her family immensely growing up, saving her parents money and time.
Ms Giofrelle called for a bus service coming to Marong every hour from 7am to 8pm, like it did Maiden Gully.
A bus runs between Maiden Gully and Bendigo about once an hour, slightly more frequently during some periods of the day.
Marong is a seven kilometre drive from Maiden Gully, taking about six minutes along the highway.
She said a bus service would allow Marong's elderly population to connect with the Bendigo community independently, give students independence, save parents time and connect Bendigo residents with the town.
With Marong's population increasing rapidly and the expected growth of 8000 by 2030, a bus service is really vital to our community in order for us to cope with this growth.Madison Giofrelle
"With Marong's population increasing rapidly and the expected growth of 8000 by 2030, a bus service is really vital to our community in order for us to cope with this growth," Ms Giofrelle said.
The bus service would benefit our community so much and in so many different ways."
A spokesperson said the Department of Transport continued to review and invest in bus networks in regional areas to make sure it delivered the best possible service for passengers.
"When prioritising service routes the Department of Transport considers a range of factors including the potential number of passengers, suitability and safety of the road network for bus operations, development of a direct and easily understood network, associated costs and the impact on existing passengers," the spokesperson said.
A Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson said community transport services were available in many communities for people experiencing access issues.
The spokesperson said Marong was within the scope of the Vol Express and the Red Cross voluntary transport services.
People on the National Disability Insurance Scheme could elect to have transport included as part of the package, the spokesperson said.
The Department of Health was approached for comment on this story.
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