Despite bringing in 12,000 passengers since announcing direct Busselton to Melbourne flights in April, the Busselton Margaret River Airport’s free shuttle service is shutting down after reports it is only being used by a handful of passengers. The service, run by South West Coach Lines, announced the end of its free airport shuttle and direct hotel shuttle service with lines last run schedule for Saturday, August 20. SWCL deemed the service no longer “sustainable” describing passenger numbers as “well below” the required number to maintain the service. Senior operations manager Dale Lewis said passengers appear to be using alternate methods of transport. “Most passengers look to be visiting friends and family who would have someone waiting to transport them to and from the airport, the other looks to be the FIFO market driving themselves and parking,” he said. “Being locals ourselves we understand the lack of transport options within the region, this was the reason behind our decision to provide a free shuttle to Busselton and this service was then extended by us to provide passengers a free service FROM Busselton to the airport after community feedback that visitors could not get TO the airport.” In their online statement, SWCL chief executive Ben Doolan described it as a “use it or lose it” approach. The decision was made in collaboration with the City of Busselton, with COB director community and commercial services Naomi Searle saying the service may be reinstated if the demand returns. “SWCL were running the free shuttle service as a trial and to date the demand/take up has been low and as a result they will not continue with the free service,” she said. “If there is future demand then SWCL will need to decide from a business perspective if they reinstate the service.” While it is not known how passengers are choosing travel to and from the airport, the City disclosed other transport options including taxis, rideshare and charter operators, as well as five hire-car operators.