Anger as rail passengers left stranded

TEN people were left stranded at Lismore train station on Sunday when a CountryLink bus failed to turn up.

The bus was scheduled to leave Lismore at 6.43pm and connect with the XPT train service from Casino at 7.25pm.

Single mum Judith Miller described the situation as "just pathetic". She and her two-month-old baby, as well as her other kids aged nine and 13, had to wait 90 minutes before a bus was finally arranged to take them to Coffs Harbour.

“It's the middle of winter, I'm a single mum with three kids, stacks of luggage and we were left stranded,” she said.

“We should have the train running all the way up the coast. If it was then we wouldn't have this problem.”

Another passenger left in the lurch was marine biology student Georgey Vareo, 19.

Ms Vareo is an international student who was travelling to Sydney to meet her parents, who had flown in from Papua New Guinea to meet her.

She was driven to the station by friends Elizabeth and Gordon Thompson, who said they arrived at 6.35pm.

Mrs Thompson said they spoke to a girl who told them she had been dropped off by the CountryLink bus in Lismore. The girl said the bus was running 30 minutes early and didn't wait for passengers at Lismore.

They rang CountryLink and were told another bus was on its way.

However, that bus never arrived and at 7.10pm they rang again and were told it was too late to do anything.

Several more phone calls went back and forth between the irate passengers and CountryLink.

“All sorts of ideas were thrown up. It went on and on and on,” Mr Thompson said.

One idea was to taxi people over to Byron Bay where they could get another bus to take them to Sydney.

“They were there for over three hours,” he said.

“It's not good enough. Nobody at CountryLink was prepared to make a decision and sort it out. Somebody should have said 'they've missed the bus through our fault and we've got to sort this out'. That would have been good business practice, I would have thought.”

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