Ballina MP Tamara Smith is urging north coast residents to support new bus services that connect Byron Bay to Lismore.
The 640x service travels from Byron Bay to Lismore via Lennox Head and Ballina and the 641X route is from Byron Bay to Lismore via Bangalow, Clunes and Bexhill, Monday to Friday.
The routes are being run as a six-month trial by Blanch’s Bus Service, however Ms Smith is urging the company to extend the trial to 12 months.
‘I congratulate Blanch’s Bus Company, Social Futures, Lismore Sustainable Transport Group and the NSW Government for getting this bus service up and running,’ Ms Smith said.
‘We need more public transport on the North Coast and an affordable direct service like this is what a lot of commuters want.
‘I would like people to support it by using it and telling others about it. But I would also like to see the current six month trial extended to 12 months so that we can get a complete picture of usage and passenger movement across a whole year.
‘More public transport on the North Coast is sorely needed and the NSW Government should give us a decent amount of time to raise public awareness about this service – and the new 641X route from Byron Bay to Lismore via Bangalow, Clunes and Bexhill.
‘Our region deserves its share of public transport funding and a six month trial that started on 4 December and includes January and February, when many people are on holiday from work and study, won’t give as accurate a picture of usage as a 12 month trial would.
‘I left Ballina at 8am and was in downtown Lismore by 8.30 today. The bus ride was clean, efficient and on time. It was a truly country bus journey – the driver was friendly and helped elderly passengers to get on, there was none of the stress of city buses. There were 12 people on the bus by the end of the journey and I hope the service will take off, especially once students are back at Southern Cross University.
‘Looking to the future, I think this route would be perfect to trial electric or solar buses on. The bus is affordable, cheaper than driving and can support a lot of people, young and old, to be independent in our community.’.