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Park and Ride – loved by the passengers

Park and Ride over the summer peak holiday period in Byron Bay saw over 6,000 individual passenger trips taken.

 Commencing on Boxing Day for twelve days, the new trial transport program was introduced by Byron Shire Council to help ease traffic congestion and parking in the extremely popular seaside town.

Council’s Mayor Simon Richardson said feedback from passengers surveyed was overwhelmingly supportive with over 70 per cent rating the new service ten out of ten.

Peak usage day was New Year’s Day with over 1,300 passengers jumping on board and 138 cars parked at the Byron Regional Sport and Cultural Complex. Another 45 cars chose to park at Byron Bay High School on the night.

Mayor Richardson said from passenger and community feedback provided so far, the new transport service was a success.

“Key to the transport experience was usage of the Magic Bus and London Bus.  With entertainment on board, the trip into town was fun.

“In fact it was so loved that people where hopping on the bus just for the trip itself.  I can see this being part of the ‘must do’ experiences for Byron Bay when the Park and Ride is being held.”

Whilst a free service, the option for a gold coin donation from passengers was available to help cover costs of the onboard entertainment.

Another positive for the service was the uptake by parents who dropped their teenagers off at the Byron Regional Sport and Cultural Complex to catch the bus into town.

“Parents soon caught on,” said Mayor Richardson, “that they didn’t have to spend up to an hour and a half each day getting teenagers into town or the beach, when they could use the bus.”

And what was the impact on getting into town?

“The newly created temporary bus lane saw the buses saw passengers arrive into ByronBay town centre considerably quicker than sitting in the traffic queues.  Generally the bus at least halved the journey time into town, in fact, most trips took about 10 minutes,” Mayor Richardson said.

“Feedback from normal bus, tour and shuttle operators has also been positive and the request made for the bus lane to continue.

“There were no problems with locals or visitors parking in the transit lane and no cars needed to be towed away due to parking incorrectly in the lane,” he said.

The Butler Street Reserve early bird parking program, where cars parked for free it they arrived by 10am, saw about 50 cars park there each day. These two all day parking initiatives ensured that finding a park in the CBD at this time of year was easier than for decades.

 “Getting cars off the streets is an accumulative process.  If we encourage 100 or more cars a day to use alternative transport and parking options compared to parking in Byron Bay town centre, it’s a win.

 “Like any new service we’ve learnt a lot from the trial program. Council will now look at the benefits, feedback and costs and consider how and when the new service could be used,” Mayor Richardson concluded.

Mayor Richardson also took the time to thank those involved with Park and Ride. “From the newly appointed coordinators, staff and volunteers, this was a team effort.”

The Park and Ride summer program will be reported to Council in February.

The new Special Event Park Area (SEPA) 2 hour parking restriction also had positive outcomes for Byron Bay.

“It acted as an incentive for visitors to use the Park and Ride scheme in order to stay all day at the beach or in town. Plus it allowed Rangers greater powers to move potential street campers out of the area which in turn reduced potential street camping problems.

“Feedback from Rangers said street camping was less of a problem this summer holiday than in past and complaint calls to the Council hotline on the issue was fewer than last year,” noted Mayor Richardson.

Media contact:

Media Communication Officer
Byron Shire Council
Ph: 02 6626 7320

Byron Shire is located at Australia's eastern-most point with a population of almost 29,000. It is a thriving community where residents and visitors live, work and play in a sustainable environment and where Council strives to deliver the highest standard of local government services and infrastructure.