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.