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February 5, 2023

‘On Demand’ public transport to be tested in Northern Rivers

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Northern Rivers Busline will be participating in the On Demand trail in the northern rivers. Photo supplied.

The Northern Rivers is one of seven trial locations to have been chosen for the NSW government’s latest On Demand transport trials.

This is what I have been calling for since last year when I called for, and won, an extension of the commuter bus trial services from Byron to Lismore,’ said Member for Ballina, Tamara Smith (Greens).

Two mini buses will link residents of Alstonville, Wollongbar, Chilcotts Grass and Goonellabah to ‘transport hubs’ will connect them to existing services to Lismore or Ballina.

Customers can expect to pay a standard fare starting from $2.30 and the existing Regional Excursion Daily (RED) tickets for seniors and pensioners will be accepted.

‘On Demand public transport enables customers to book a vehicle like a mini bus via phone, online or app, to pick you up from home or a convenient nearby location, and take you to a local transport hub or point of interest,’ Nationals Parliamentary Secretary for Northern NSW Ben Franklin said.

Lobbying for a region-wide service

I  spoke to Transport Minister Andrew Constance last Tuesday (13 November) about getting on demand buses right across the Northern Rivers, not just the Alstonville /Wollongbar and Goonellabah areas,’ said Ms Smith.

‘Using modern technology to offer a greater choice for regional public transport users is something the Greens have long advocated and it is very satisfying to see the start of this on demand service. In time I expect that electric or solar powered driverless cars and mini buses will also be used in this way.

‘I have been in discussions with the Cross Border Commissioner James McTavish over moves to enhance point to point transport services such as rideshares, taxis and minibuses for residents travelling in the cross border region and to study how emerging technologies can be used for this.

‘The Commissioner has advised me there is work being done to improve the integration of timetabled cross-border bus services. In particular we have been discussing how to improve accessibility to medical specialists on the Gold Coast from Ballina/Byron and how to provide late night transport options from Coolangatta to NSW.’

The new On Demand service for the northern rivers is expected to begin in early 2019. 

Services will operate, Monday to Friday: 6:30am – 6:30pm and on Saturdays services will operate from Goonellabah from 7:30am to 1:30pm and Alstonville between 9am and 2pm.

‘We’ve seen great success with existing trials in metropolitan areas with more than 150,000 passenger trips in less than a year and we can’t wait to see these numbers grow here in the Northern Rivers,’ said Mr Franklin.

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  1. Great idea but hopefully better operated than the ones he is espousing- three on demand services exist in concord, Sydney-all they do is follow existing bus routes and they appear empty all the time. State government priorities are very inconsistent- trialling on demand buses in an area serviced by numerous bus services that would make any northern rivers person druel with envy. How about a fair dinkum ( sorry for sounding like our current pm) public transport system not some election ploy.

  2. I know bus drivers want their Sundays to be family days…but for people with no car, family outings to events public and private, means a walk or a lift (and then you have to come and go when your ride wants to…)

    Community fun like the car boot market on Sundays is pretty much ruled out for those who live on the hills. and have no transport. Lugging loot up to Goonellabah is a no-no, and taxis while, for the most part quick to arrive with friendly, helpful drivers are not the cheapest option.

    Do the necessary research and give the trial a decent period of at least a year…so much better for the environment and for the people who at present cant fit their schedules around the current timetable.

    On the topic of buses can the timetables in the bus shelters be enlarged so we can read them more easily…and what about electronic, solar powered signs that will tell you when the next bus is due?

    Overall an exciting initiative.

  3. Great initiative! Much better than spending millions of dollars to restore the Casino to Murwbay railway line that only serves a small number who happen to live within walking distance to a train station 🙂


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