Bus and taxi fares slug the region

NORTHERN RIVERS residents are forking out more money to get from A to B than people living in the state capital cities.

The situation isn't helped when the region's public transport is, according to the State Member for Lismore Thomas George, ‘non existent'.

An investigation by The Northern Star into the costs of bus and taxi transport in the region found bus fares are up to twice the price of metropolitan fares and a taxi ride can cost up to 30 per cent more.

Transport NSW is responsible for setting the allowances for taxi fares in the state, including implementing higher rates for country areas than urban areas.

The distance rate in urban areas is $1.99 with a flag fall rate of $3.30 and in country areas the distance rate is $2.04 and $2.83 for every kilometre travelled over 12km with a flag fall of $3.80.

What may seem like a few cents adds up in the end.

Ballina Taxis quoted a fare from Byron Bay to Ballina during the day to cost between $80-$90, and at night one can expect to pay up to $100 for the 30km drive.

The same distance in Sydney would cost about $75 between 10pm and 6am.

A taxi fare from Lismore to Casino is about $71.

Travelling the same 33km in a taxi on the Gold Coast would cost $65.50 during the day and $67.15 between 7pm and 7am.

Lismore Taxis Co-op Ltd chairman Doug Lawrence believes the price difference is because, unlike city areas, taxis in the Northern Rivers are a convenience rather than a necessity.

“I don't think that most people catch a taxi to work every day,” he said.

Transport NSW has set no regulation on private bus companies in the Northern Rivers.

A bus fare from Ballina to Byron Bay on Blanchs Bus Company costs $9.60 for a single adult, whereas the fare from one side of Sydney to the other costs $4.30.

Thomas George believes public transport in the Northern Rivers needs to be addressed.

“It is unfair, and it is typical of what we have been trying to bring to the Government's attention for a long time,” he said.

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