Freo’s CAT bus dilemma: No paws for 10-year-old campaigner

Skye Atherton has been collecting signatures to save the CAT. Photo by Steve Grant.

A DETERMINED 10-year-old Freo resident has taken it upon herself to rally support against the impending closure of the city’s CAT Bus service. 

Skye Atherton, who occasionally rides the CAT Bus during school holidays with her father, initiated a petition to save the service and has been pounding the pavement in South Fremantle to rack up about 200 business, resident and visitor signatures.

“So many different people use it, from school kids to people going to work; it serves so many purposes,”  Skye said of the CATs.

Skye’s petition marks her first foray into the world of activism, and she’s followed it up with a letter to transport minister Rita Saffioti asking for her support. The Public Transport Authority contributes 40 per cent of the CAT’s funding and is unlikely to continue the service without the council’s contribution.

“The removal of this service will not only impact the tourists for which it was originally created, but will significantly increase daily difficulties such as  school children and residents commuting to the train station; it prevents aggravating the current issue of limited parking in Fremantle and traffic congestion…” Skye wrote, also noting the increased carbon footprint of individual cars over a bus. 

Despite some initial nerves at approaching people, she said the response to her petition has been encouraging, with many people praising her for taking up the mantle.

“Most of them were interested,” she said.

There was one business owner who said the CAT buses didn’t bring any business to her door – but then proceeded to sign the petition anyway.

Skye and her mum Mikylie hope some solution can be found, noting that Joondalup’s CAT bus service is part-funded by Edith Cowan university as well as the local council and the Public Transport Authority.

One response to “Freo’s CAT bus dilemma: No paws for 10-year-old campaigner

  1. As a visitor from the UK over a number of years we have found the CAT a brilliant service and from our location at South Beach has been the reason for us making visits to Fremantle for shopping and visits to Museum, Market, Art Centre,Art Festival and many other Tourist attractions. I would suggest that a donation box system should be introduced on the bus that would allow visitors to make a donation for their journey . I appreciate that this limited source of income would not cover the running costs but could help in some small way.Wishing young Skye lots of luck with her petition !!

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