Campaign for bus gains momentum

BYRON shire locals are now putting pen to paper as part of their campaign to get a nightly bus service.

The Petition for Byron Shire Night Bus started with a Facebook page earlier this year which now has the support of 800 members.

Most recently, a hard copy petition has evolved.

Two petitions are available to sign at the Byron Youth Activities Centre and at the Santos Natural Food Store in Mullumbimby.

Nicqui Yazdi from the Byron Youth Service said more than three pages had been signed at the youth centre since the petition was put there a few days ago.

“There are 800 people on the Facebook site and we have got to get the same people signing the petition,” she said.

“The Facebook page is great but it doesn’t really hold any merit.”

Ms Yazdi, who was also organising the Schoolies HUB in Byron Bay, said the service was a necessity.

“We don’t have buses that service at night and we have all these schoolies coming here who will be walking home at night,” she said.

“I have people who walk from the youth centre to Suffolk Park. We would have fewer of those deaths on our roads, as it is part of the bigger issue that there is no transport.”

Coincidently, Mullumbimby resident Tamsyn Rose who organised the petitions approached Ms Yazdi with the idea for a night bus service before she had seen the Facebook page.

Now she leads the campaign with Tracey O’Keefe, a former Byron shire local who has lost friends and family members in car accidents on Byron Shire’s roads.

Once enough signatures were collected, the petitions would be sent to the NSW Minister for Transport John Robertson.

Lismore City mayor and Northern Rivers Social Development Council (NRSDC) president Jenny Dowell said the NRSDC was compiling a regional transport plan that would, potentially, be in-synch with the State Government plan.

“I see the need for transport in Byron to keep young people safe,” she said.

“Especially after hours, when young people like to socialise after school and after work, and hitchhiking is not safe.”

Cr Dowell attended a public transport meeting recently where Trains on Our Tracks (TOOT) members stressed the need to bring back the now defunct Murwillumbah to Casino railway.

“It should not be train versus bus or car but it needs to be all,” Cr Dowell said.

“A commuter service on the train we would love to see but it is not the panacea. It is not going to service everyone’s needs.”

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