BUSY NIGHT: Byron Bay's Jonson St had dozens of young people looking for transport services in the early hours of Monday.
BUSY NIGHT: Byron Bay's Jonson St had dozens of young people looking for transport services in the early hours of Monday. Javier Encalada

OPINION: Do we need Uber in the Northern Rivers?

IT is the early hours of Monday and after a busy day/night at Bluesfest I drove to Byron Bay to file my stories.

Entering Byron Bay, I noticed the town was quite busy, which is not unusual on a long weekend.

What was unusual, was the amount of people interacting with car drivers in Jonson St.

I open up my windows and allowed one a young man to address me as I was waiting for traffic to move.

"Can you take us to Suffolk please?" he pleaded.

"I'm sorry mate, I'm stopping in the next block," I said.

"I can pay you! I can make your trip worthwhile! Just drive us there and I'll give you $50. Just Uber us there please" he said, and then I realised how desperate for transport he was.

I had to politely decline the offer, as I had some hours of work ahead of me, but I saw the unusual request in many faces before I stopped nearby the Byron Bay information centre.

Before I left the car, I looked around: I saw taxis in the street but still the offer for transport could not deal with the demand at the time.

I have used Uber before in Brisbane and I found it an efficient transport service, but the driver of that particular service although polite and very keen to offer great service, had no issue explaining how little money he made from offering the service.

Given the unemployment rates in our area and the changes in transport demand on particular dates, I believe an alternative (community organised?) transport service would be of great benefit for the area.

I wonder if visitors -and locals- would benefit of such a service in the Northern Rivers, particularly during busy periods such as Easter.

I am not for affecting regular taxi services in local areas during off peak seasons, but when demand exceeds the services available, I see merit in considering creative options.

What do you think?



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