RYDE volunteers needed in Busselton

South West RYDE Program manager Semara Murphy and volunteer Ann Stanton.
South West RYDE Program manager Semara Murphy and volunteer Ann Stanton.

Regional Youth Driver Education Program is back on the road in Busselton helping disadvantaged young people to get their driver's licence.

South West RYDE Program links learner drivers with volunteers to undertake 90 minute driving sessions.

The sessions help learner drivers complete 50 hours of supervised driving before they can be eligible to go for their provisional licence.

Since COVID-19 restrictions were lifted in Western Australia the uptake of volunteers and learner drivers has been slow and RYDE are putting a call out for people to register.

South West RYDE Program manager Semara Murphy said they paired learner drivers with volunteer mentors and provided them with a car and fuel card.

"One sessions costs $15 for 90 minutes," she said.

"For those young people who do not have mum or dad that can sit in the car, trying to pay $70 an hour for 50 hours is incredibly expensive.

"RYDE aims to make it more achievable for those young people who are struggling."

Ms Murphy one of the biggest outcomes that came from RYDE was people getting jobs.

"I have had three young people this year who were able to secure employment the same week they got their licence," she said.

"One lady was working casually who could not get part time work until she got her licence because she was cancelling shifts when her lifts fell through.

"She got her P plates after going through RYDE, she called her employer and they gave her part time work immediately.

"Another young man is about to sit his driving test and he has been able to secure work brick laying, he was told once he gets his licence their was an apprenticeship waiting for him."

RYDE has been operating in Busselton since May 2019 and they currently have 49 young people registered in Busselton and Bunbury and need more volunteers to help learner drivers build up their driving hours.

"We are hoping to get an automatic vehicle in Busselton soon as we only have a manual which limits who can access the service," Ms Murphy said.

"We are hoping to make it more accessible to young people with disabilities so they can get their automatic licence.

"We have four volunteers in Busselton which is okay for now because we do not have a lot of young people booking in sessions, but we are about to start advertising again to let everybody know that the program is available.

"We are expecting young people to start booking again which will be difficult when we only have a few volunteers who are trying to supply the service to everyone."

RYDE volunteer Ann Stanton has been with the service since the start of this year and was impressed with the young people she mentored.

"I have helped young men gain driving experience, they have all been very polite and positive young people," she said

"I volunteer how much time I put into the program and when I am available, since COVID-19 I have been doing one session a week."

Volunteers can go to the RYDE website and book in when they are available for sessions each week for however much time they would like to contribute.

To contact RYDE please visit ryde.org.au/south-west-ryde-providers