by Sophie Moeller
WE HAVE six months to prove to Transport NSW the new express services from Byron Bay via Lennox Head, and the hinterland, to Lismore is worth the funding.
The new 640X and 641X services offered by Blanch's Bus Services began on December 4 and are part of a six-month trial to see if the new commuter routes are warranted.
The new services include:
640X an express between Byron Bay and Lismore, via Lennox Head and Ballina (and return).
641X an express between Lismore and Byron Bay, via Bexhill, Clunes and Bangalow (and return).
A trip from Lennox Head to Lismore Base Hospital will take 53 minutes.
A trip from Ballina to Lismore Base will only take 33 minutes.
Operations manager Phil Lobban said Blanch's was asked to put forward the new routes to Transport NSW, which includes daily drop-offs to Southern Cross Uni.
"Transport NSW will look at the patronage figures mid-year to see if the general public are utilising the service to see if they are happy to keep it going,” Mr Lobban said.
Bus driver Jeffrey Moy said the route had been quiet over the Christmas period, but thinks the service will start to get busy when term goes back and people return to work.
Lismore passenger Richard Todd was visiting a friend in Byron Bay this week and said he "was impressed” with the service as it "left exactly on time”.
Jonathan Dikih, who was returning to Byron Bay having been in Lismore for a few days, said there were a lot of people around the Bexhhill/Clunes area that will be very happy to use the service.
"The new commuter service is a great asset to the community. It provides a much needed service, will reduce traffic congestion, and takes the stress out of the daily commute,” Ballina Shire Council's Road Safety Officer Helen Carpenter said.
The bus will cost $6.60 for a single adult fare.
For more information, visit www.blanchs.com.au.