Youth Connection and Street Cruise Coordinator, Deborah Pearse. Photo Jerad Williams / The Northern Star
Youth Connection and Street Cruise Coordinator, Deborah Pearse. Photo Jerad Williams / The Northern Star Jerad Williams

Bus off road after money runs out

A BYRON Shire youth bus service has been forced to drastically cut its operating hours after its Federal Government grant ran out late last year with little prospect of alternative funding in sight.

Most of the services provided by the 13-seater bus that transported local young people home safely late at night and to job-training and social activities were discontinued in the last week of 2012.

"Over the years we've got little bits and pieces of funds from government grants, occasionally council and donations from local people, but it's pretty much always been a struggle," Ms Pearse said.

Youth worker Deb Pearse, from Byron Youth Service, said they had to cease the Saturday night transport service, which was an important harm minimisation strategy to help inebriated youngsters make it home safely.

They had been able to keep the Friday night service operating with youth service funds and a donation from a philanthropist.

The bus and a year's operating costs was funded by a grant of about $40,000 from the Attorney- General's Department, but Ms Pearse said no future funding was available from this source.

"Over the years we've got little bits and pieces of funds from government grants, occasionally council and donations from local people, but it's pretty much always been a struggle," she said.

Ms Pearse said it was an essential service in a town where there were very few public transport options.



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