'Salvos Shuttle' back on the road after theft in Darwin

Members of Darwin Corps are relieved to see their bus, the “Salvos Shuttle”, back in operation after it was stolen and the corps facility at Anula was ransacked earlier in the month.

The bus, used by Captain Kris Halliday to transport families to visit loved ones in prison, was found abandoned in a parking lot.
“Calls were coming in from people from the community and somebody obviously had a keen eye to spot it in the carpark,” Captain Halliday told the ABC.

The prison bus service is vital to the region because no public transport is available to the Darwin Correctional Centre at Holtze, on the outskirts of the city. Opening two years ago, Holtze prison is largely inaccessible to family, friends and loved ones of prisoners.

The Salvation Army in Darwin began the Prison Bus Ministry in June 2016, and has since run numerous visits each week to the prison, which is about 30 minutes out of Darwin.

Since the prison moved to Holtze, the NT Department of Corrections has found that visitors per inmate have gone down. Locals have gone to exorbitant lengths to reach the destination, some spending up to $180 hiring a taxi, and some even walking up to 30km to reach the prison.
Captain Halliday said the corps was slowly getting back on track after a big effort from volunteers to clean up the centre, which was extensively vandalised.
“The disappointing thing about this is we know that there are people who are expecting to come to us to get the support that they really need and we haven’t been in a position to help them,” said Captain Halliday.

Public support, however, has been “overwhelming”, said Captain Halliday, with a local resident even offering a bus in the interim. 

Captain Halliday said the corps was still seeking food donations to replenish supplies. “Thanks to everyone who has enquired about donating following the break in at our Anula facility,” he said. “Our friends at Besser Kitchen & Brew Bar and Laneway Speciality Coffee have donation tins out for us if you'd like to make a financial donation.

“Food donations to help us restock can be dropped at the electorate office of Lauren Moss in Casuarina or at The Salvation Army Regional Headquarters in Smith Street.”

According to reports, the Northern Territory Government has promised funding of $60,000 for the Prison Bus Service until June