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When the bus doesn’t come…..

August 28, 2013

One thing I have been hearing from residents in various parts of the Eastern Ward is frustration with the bus services. This ranges from non-existent bus services to buses that run late, to buses that are so full that they can’t let more people on.

Now before I go any further, let me say that there are parts of the Ward which are well served. Hataitai, Lyall Bay, Seatoun and most of Miramar all seem to have a fairly frequent service and buses that run on weekends.

There may be other issues I haven’t covered here – and please feel free to comment and let me know. However, here are some of the gaps in service that I know of:

Evans Bay Parade No. 24 : The last bus comes from town at 7.42 pm. However a lot of young people living along Evan’s Bay work late in the city and they end up having to walk home. The same service continues through Maupuia and Miramar Heights, and is weekdays only. The lack of a weekend service was mentioned by quite a few residents from all parts of this route.

Strathmore Park Nos 25 43 44: This service goes all the way from Strathmore to Khandallah, an extremely long run, and apparently some of the drivers get fairly stressed and grumpy.

The service runs until late at night and on the weekends. However, the morning buses are very full, as they only come at 20 minute intervals; there are only three buses up until 8.00 am The other issue is that at lot of people in Strathmore need to start work at 7.00 am or earlier (eg hospital shift work) and the first bus doesn’t come until  6.55 am. A lady I spoke to was catching a taxi to get to work, others take their cars. I don’t think this is good enough when a service such as the Island Bay No 1 starts 5.45am with  buses at 12-15 minute intervals. I note that Wellington East Girls College has suggested an extra bus from the peninsula in the mornings in their bus survey.

Kilbirnie No14: Several residents mentioned that Wellington East Girls College has a late start on a Wednesday, and the bus timetables don’t allow enough buses after 9.00 am to accommodate the demand. The buses are very full, which is a frustration for the public and students alike.

What to do about all of this?

Firstly, we do need to  address these gaps in service, along with the affordability of public transport. A  review of bus services is underway, and I understand it is not too late to make recommendations.

Secondly we need to look at affordability, especially for young people and their families.

At present, just to get a student  to and from secondary school can cost in the order of $20-$25 per week. Multiply that by a few in a family and you have a serious amount of money. No wonder people are using their cars!

Public transport is a public good, and will always need some subsidisation to get good uptake.  Affordable, workable public transport gives young people independence and opportunities to work, participate in sport, do extra curricular activities or just hang out with friends. This can be otherwise  difficult, especially if they come from less wealthy or disadvantaged backgrounds.

As a nation and as a city we should want to give our young people every chance to succeed. We should also want to cater to the growing numbers of young adults who choose not to drive, as well as to the elderly and disabled. I wouldn’t go to the extent of John Minto in Auckland who is suggesting public transport should be free, but I think there is a good case for half price bus fares for young people at least until the age of eighteen, and I made a submission to that effect recently to  the Greater Wellington Regional Council. My colleague Paul Bruce also made the case for reduced fares for university students.

Thirdly, We need bus services that are responsive to changing needs. I was quite taken aback to find that although Greater Wellington agreed in principle to half price fares for school students, it will take two years or so to be implemented because of the locked-in contracts with the present operators. This simply is not responsive enough. The world changes quickly (for example, a school decides to have a late start one day of the week),  and the bus service must have the flexibility to respond.

Getting better public transport is a priority for me. It matters on so many fronts; reducing our carbon footprint,  providing better living  by reducing congestion and air pollution, and freeing up space in the city which would otherwise be  used for car parking.

I welcome your feedback and ideas on this important issue!

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From → Transport

5 Comments
  1. Sue Teng permalink

    hi Sarah,

    it will be great if they can have No 24 over the weekend and a more direct bust service to the City from the Strathmore shops.
    There are many buses from Miramar but they all seem to take a long time to get to the City centre. Perhaps fewer buses but running more regularly and have the intersection to change at Courtenay Place and Wgtn railway stn for other outer suburbs can be more cost effective and better service for the local community in the Eastern ward

    regards

    Sue 🙂

  2. Strathmore Park permalink

    Reblogged this on strathmorepark.

  3. Cr Daran Ponter permalink

    These are all very real and valid issues. Many of them were raised during the consultation on the Wellington Bus Review during 2012 and early 2013.

    Paul Bruce and I held approx 60 meetings across the city including Strathmore, Miramar and Kilbirnie.

    The result is that the Wellington Bus Review was quite significantly amended.

    The latest proposals are on the Regional Council website. The changes will start coming into effect in 2015, once new bus contracts have been negotiated.

  4. Thanks for that Daran.
    Having located the review, I see weekend services are proposed for the Evan’s Bay- Maupuia- Miramar Heights route 🙂
    However, no change to the start times for the Strathmore service, although improved frequency.

  5. This isn’t really advice for your region, but a suggestion for public transit in general http://acollectionofmusings.wordpress.com/2013/06/11/are-you-licensed-to-ride-the-bus/

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