Council looking to put $18m into buses

The Council is also proposing to increase its investment in Western Bay bus services from the current $13m a year, to $18.2m a year in 2019/20.

More frequent bus services, new bus routes and the introduction and trial of five, state-of-the-art hybrid buses will form part of western Bay of Plenty’s future public transport network.

The announcement comes following a Bay of Plenty Regional Council decision to tender for new contracts in 2018.

The new bus contracts will take effect from December 2018 for urban and rural bus services, and January 2019 for Tauranga school services.

The decision to go to tender follows extensive public engagement this year on the Western Bay of Plenty Public Transport Blueprint, which has been developed to address some of the public transport challenges in the Western Bay of Plenty.

The Council is also proposing to increase its investment in Western Bay bus services from the current $13m a year, to $18.2m a year in 2019/20.

Regional councillor Lyall Thurston says the tender and contract process will allow flexibility to support an evolving public transport system that meets the growing needs of the western Bay of Plenty’s population.

“Public transport is a critical component for transporting people and contributing to a thriving region and Bay of Plenty Regional Council is committed to delivering this vision for the Bay of Plenty – as we have done since 2001.

“We have a strong public transport network across the region, providing services to rural and urban communities, and supporting the one in five people in the Bay of Plenty who have a disability that impacts on their daily life.

“The effective delivery of a public transport network is complex, challenging and constantly changing. It requires significant capacity, capability and resources.

“Like many other regions around New Zealand, the Bay of Plenty is facing a number of transport challenges, including rapid population growth, congestion, increasing demand for public transport, environmental considerations – and an increasing level of investment in order to deliver public transport.

“Bay of Plenty Regional Council is equipped to manage and deliver an effective public transport service for the Bay of Plenty region, but our community will need to make some important decisions about what it wants and needs from public transport, and how that might be funded over the next 10 years.

“Public transport is fundamental for society to survive, and we will continue to work with our stakeholders and the community, particularly the aged and people with disabilities, to ensure our public transport network is the best fit for our growing region and its changing needs.”

Lyall says much of this discussion will take place through BOPRC’s Long Term Planning process, which will commence in February/March next year.

Some of the key bus network improvements that will be incorporated in the new bus contracts include:

  •   •  A 20 minute frequency for the majority of services

  •   •  A new City Loop linking Mt Maunganui, Bayfair, the CBD and the Hospital, and extending to Greerton in the second year

  •   •  A new eastern Cross Town Connector linking Greerton and Bayfair

  •   •  A new off-peak Gold Line service linking Mt Maunganui, Bayfair and Papamoa

  •   •  Five hybrid buses, which will reduce carbon emissions by 200 tonnes a year

The new bus contracts will also incorporate proposed changes to the school bus network. Bay of Plenty Regional Council has been working with schools to develop school-led solutions for their public transport requirements, with solutions now agreed for ten schools.

“Bay of Plenty Regional Council is continuing to work with the remaining schools to finalise those school-led solutions.

“Discussions with schools have been extremely productive and are ongoing.”

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Park and ride please and put 'OUR' money to better use!

Posted on 06-10-2017 13:57 | By Murray.Guy

Why do bureaucrats insist on throwing good money (of ours) after bad, refuse to acknowledge a thought other than their own? Is their a ’law against’ Park and Ride facilities. We have an excellent opportunity for a Park & Ride facility at Baypark, heaven only knows why such a facility wasn’t included in the new Te Puna round-about and at The Lakes.

Wholeheartedly agree with

Posted on 04-10-2017 08:34 | By nerak

Maryfaith and Morepork. I have been saying the same for years re smaller/mini buses for non peak hours. Now here’s an idea, a group of like minded folk should elbow out a good number of BOPRC members, I’m sure we would get a lot further in a lot less time, making sensible decisions, not only about buses. ’There’s none so blind as those who cannot see’, BOPRC.

Agree with Maryfaith.

Posted on 03-10-2017 19:54 | By morepork

Smaller capacity buses with more frequent schedules and, ideally, hybrid or electric. I lived in Hampstead Garden Suburb in North London for some time and it wasn’t practical to have large buses in the narrow streets of the suburb. Mini-buses solved it beautifully and at one point you could even phone and they would tell you when the next one would be on your street. Drivers didn’t mind dropping people at their houses, and if you wanted the bus you just signalled an approaching driver. (No bus stops, as such). It is expensive, wasteful, and silly to run large buses during off-peak times when they cannot cover the cost of running them. Mini-buses also seem to create community spirit.

That makes sense

Posted on 03-10-2017 15:36 | By Fannie Swallowcock

Traffic congestion is getting worse, the buses are mostly lets increase the frequency and number of services? Just increase them some more and we can all have a hybrid bus each. Left wing head bangers.

Typical Council solution

Posted on 03-10-2017 15:20 | By MISS ADVENTURE

Throw money at it and hope something useful will by accident appear from nowhere?

New bus services

Posted on 03-10-2017 15:08 | By Val.M

Please include Papamoa/city route. Having to change at Bayfair will really clog Bayfair. Does the city want Papamoa people to travel there?

Sheer Madness!

Posted on 03-10-2017 14:59 | By Maryfaith

Apart from peak times and special events, the buses should be phased out and a fleet of mini buses purchased. We have all seen the unending trail of buses trundling around our city and suburban streets with a max of 6-8 passengers at most! Usually 2-3!