Now it's dial 'T' for transport

IMAGINE you have just lost your licence and you need to get to work.

Or that you have just moved to the area and need to get your kids to school on public transport; or you are elderly, don't drive and need to get to the doctor.

Don't panic! Just look in the White Pages. That's right, the White Pages; on page eight and nine to be precise.

Eight Northern Rivers councils got together last year to gather all the information they could on transport services in their local government areas.

Then they decided the best place to put that information was in a book that every household has - the telephone book.

"In Sydney people can call a 13500 number and find out what public transport can take them from point A to point B," said Linda Lomman, public transport development project officer of the Northern Rivers Social Development Council.

"But there is nothing like that here and we wanted to do something for ourselves."

So without any prospect of government funding for the project, Northern Rivers councils set about tracking down the information and gathering the money to fund its placement of the directory in the phone book.

And to keep the directory on two facing pages at the front of phone book it will cost the councils $13,200 each year.

Ms Lomman said they worked hard to collate the information and package it in an easy-to-read format.

Speaking at the official launch of the directory last week at the Richmond Valley Council offices, social development council president Cr Jenny Dowell said local transport infrastructure had not kept pace with population growth.

"With the disappearance of our train, the disadvantage of people in rural areas to access public transport is real," she said. "People on low incomes often cannot afford to rent in town. Average incomes on the Northern Rivers are about two-thirds that of people working in our cities.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics reveals the Richmond Valley and Kyogle shire as among the most socially disadvantaged in Australia.

"If Nimbin had its own postcode it would be on the top of that list, as only one family in three has the use of a car."

Cr Dowell said without access to transport people became socially isolated.

"The whole community suffers as a result," she said.


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