PENSIONER Bill Collins catches the bus every day of the week.

The service is a lifeline to the world outside the 79-year-old's small flat. But on the weekends he is stuck at home because there are no buses, he can't walk far and he can't drive anymore.

He said being unable to get out makes him feel like a second-rate citizen.

"I just have to sit in a little unit and stare at four walls," Mr Collins said.

"It makes me feel very bloody lost and lonely.

"I like company and if there was a weekend service I would definitely use it."

He is one of almost 6000 people over the age of 65 living in Gladstone, many of whom rely on the bus for shopping, socialising and getting to medical appointments.

During school holidays bus services are also reduced, and that, Bill says, makes it even harder to get to and from the shops.

"I'm too old to drive and when the kids are on holidays there are only a couple of buses I can catch to go out and see my friends or do the shopping. Something should be done about it."

But for a weekend service to be profitable, funding is needed from the State Government. Last financial year the State Government committed almost $1.2million to Buslink - about one fifth of the company's yearly operating cost - for urban bus services in the council area.

A department spokesman said demand for weekday services was too low in this area to warrant funding for weekend runs.



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