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Wilba refunded as Tsukasa is in line for an award

Tsukasa Hiraoka with Wilba the Empowerbus. Photo TWH

It’s good news all around for Wilba the Empowerbus. An extension in funding will ensure Wilba stays on the streets of Bourke and his creator, Tsukasa Hiraoka, is in line for a state award.

It’s been a year since Wilba the Empowerbus hit the streets of Bourke, providing a transport service where there was none.

Wilba assists residents in getting around town as well as to Bourke Airport, North Bourke, and Alice Edwards Village.

Described as the in-between of a bus and a taxi, Wilba is more flexible than a bus because he is on demand and is cheaper than a taxi because transport is shared.

At Wilba’s inception, which created opportunities for residents to access shopping, appointments, social activities and employment, Bourke Shire Council Mayor Barry Hollman said that better transport options in Bourke were necessary.

“Having the opportunity to use a safe, reliable mode of transport at an affordable price will increase participation at social, educational and sporting events, by the simple fact that these events are more accessible,” Councillor Hollman said.

And indeed, it has. Since last February, the twelve-seater bus has conducted more than 2000 trips, assisting hundreds of residents in getting where they need to go. […]

Read more in the printed edition of The Western Herald.

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