Ticket to RYDE for local youth

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Young people stand to benefit most from a City of Joondalup program designed to assist 17 to 25-year-olds towards getting their driver’s licence.

The Regional Youth Driver Education (RYDE) program offers a pathway for financially and socially disadvantaged learner drivers to undertake 50 hours of supervised driving experience under the guidance of trained volunteer mentors.

Research shows that young people benefit greatly from having a drivers licence, such as the independence to travel to study, work and social activities.

RYDE targets learner drivers who have been taught how to drive a vehicle, but have barriers to accessing supervisors to assist them complete their 50 ‘log book’ hours. The program connects young people who are financially or socially disadvantaged with trained volunteer mentors to gain real driving experience.

It is easy for young people to participate, with an online booking platform and affordable fee of $15.00 for a 90-minute driving session.

The City is expected to partner with the Joondalup Volunteer Resource Centre to recruit volunteer mentors.

Over the next few months an initial group of 12 volunteers will be recruited to accompany learner drivers during the 50-hour experience stage of their driver’s licence preparation.

They will also be tasked with building supportive relationships with RYDE participants.

Joondalup Mayor Albert Jacob said youth unemployment was at alarming levels, especially among young people who found it difficult to undertake the 50 hours of driving experience towards getting their driver’s licence.

“They may find it difficult to access a suitable driving supervisor, family support or a suitable vehicle. Not being able to get a driver’s licence can affect a young person’s job prospects, training, education and independence,” Mayor Jacob said.

“The RYDE program aims to foster safe attitudes towards driving and less risk-taking behaviour through intensive mentoring by experienced drivers who have a deep level of care to keep everyone safe on our roads.

“It is not a statutory requirement that local government provide driver education programs but, as the tier of government that most closely affects the daily lives of citizens, local government is well placed to co-ordinate a response to this identified local community need.”

South East Ward Councillor John Logan first raised a Notice of Motion at a council meeting in 2018 which triggered a City report recommending that a RYDE program be introduced in the local area.

Young people interested in the City’s RYDE program will need to live in the northern metropolitan region to be eligible to participate. Most young people participating in the RYDE program will be referred to the City by a participating support agency such as a youth service provider.

The City listed $22,500 in its 2020-2021 capital works program towards implementing the program, including $7500 provided under a Federal Stronger Communities grant.

The program’s set-up costs include the purchase of an automatic car, fitting out the car with extra driver pedals for the volunteer mentors, registration and insurance.

It is anticipated that the RYDE program will have minimal ongoing costs.