End of the line for iconic Bundaberg ticket office
DECLINING long-haul bus ticket sales, online bookings and the retirement of long- serving office manager Gloria Prince has forced the closure of Stewart and Sons Travel office.
While the company will continue to operate the school run and charter bus services, the office in Targo St has shut its door and Greyhound and Premier Motor Service buses will have to find an alternative pick-up and drop-off location from Friday.
For Ms Prince it's a bitter-sweet moment after 22 years but she plans to put her travel agent knowledge to good use in retirement, with a trip to Ireland already planned.
"I've seen the coach station come and go so to speak," she said.
"When I started we used to have 17 coaches going north and 17 coaches going south every day.
"Now we're looking at three going north and three going south and they are in the middle of the night with only one day one which leaves at 8am."
Ms Prince puts the decline in bus travellers down to the Tilt Train and the reduced fares given to backpackers.
"We've got the Tilt Train which has been great for Bundaberg but also the backpackers used to use the coaches but for quite a long time now Queensland Rail have been offering 40% discount to backpackers.
"They can go to Brisbane for $43. Over the past year I've been to the Community Cabinet meeting in October and plead our case to the Minister for Transport and in the past I've talked to our local council for financial support but nobody's interested.
"And they won't be interested until it's not available. It's the end of an era really but there comes a time when things become unviable."
But with the "office closed" sign already up, Ms Prince is set to embark on new adventures and knows all the best places to visit.
"I've done international travel the whole time I've been here and I've had a big clientele of international travellers," she said.
"When I retire I would have had 50 years in retail and travel after I got an apprenticeship at 15, so it's been good to me.
"I've travelled the world, my favourite cities are Paris and New York and the only place I haven't been to is Ireland so I intend to have three months in Ireland."