Thumbing a ride the only option
A PREGNANT woman has turned to hitchhiking as a form of transport due to the lack of buses that operate between Lismore and Nimbin.
The Lismore resident, who asked not be named, said she was forced recently to hitchhike to Nimbin toattend her doctor's appointment because there were no buses departing that time of the day.
“I go from Lismore and usually somebody I know picks me up. I only get a lift with people I know,” she said.
“In the whole time I have done it, only a few strangers have stopped. Sometimes old conservative people pick me up and I never take my kids.
“I don't get scared, but I know it's not safe. I don't have a car at the moment and there are always people hitchhiking.”
The mother-of-four agreed that she ‘sometimes' felt vulnerable standing on the side of the road.
This woman and her story is one of many, Nimbin transport advocate Eugenie Stephans said.
For the past few months, Ms Stephans has been working hard with Nimbin locals to come up with a plan that would see an additional morning and night bus service between Lismore and Nimbin and her hard work has finally paid off.
Transport NSW has said it will be open to discussions about an additional bus service once they review theresults of Ms Stephan's survey, which she has distributed around local businesses in Nimbin.
The feedback from the survey will determine what times the proposed bus service will run.
“I have talked to uni students who are hitchhiking back in the dark because there is no bus and nobody can do anything about it,” she said.
“People have stopped me in the street to tell me they have to leave for work three hours early because they don't know how long it will take to get a ride to Lismore. People can't make their app-ointments, especially Centrelink appointments.
“To think because of transport people can't study or get to work and they wonder why we have a high unemployment rate.
“We need an (extra) 8am to 8.30am bus leaving Nimbin and a 5.30pm to 6pm bus leaving Lismore coming back to Nimbin.”
Waller's Bus Company currently runs a bus service to Lismore, which departs Nimbin at 7.50am, 9am, 3.25pm and 4.25pm.
Ms Stephans recently distributed surveys aroundlocal businesses in Nimbin so locals can have their say.
“I am also looking at subsidised travel for people to get to work,” she said.
“It can cost up to $100 ($18 per return bus trip) a week to get to work in Lismore.”
Anyone interested in participating in the transport survey can email firstname.lastname@example.org.