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Strong support for BRT + thumbs up for local buses


Strong support for BRT and thumbs up for local buses

Issued jointly by North Shore City Council and Auckland Regional Council. September 11, 2002

A recent survey of North Shore City residents has shown that 44 per cent feel that passenger transport services have improved over the last 12 months - and one third of the total sample say they will use the city's busway when it's finished in 2006.

Results of the market researchers' initial study, commissioned by the Auckland Regional Council and called North Shore Travel Behaviour Research, were presented to the North Shore City Council's works and environment committee yesterday.

Committee chairperson Joel Cayford says it is the first in-depth look into what users and non-users alike think about the bus services within North Shore City, how often they use them, and whether they are likely to be users in future.

The survey shows that of the respondents, 16 per cent had used buses and nine per cent had used ferries in the week of the survey - which was wet.

With construction work due to start next year on the region's Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, researchers have been taking a close look at what people think of bus travel and services.

ARC Councillor Michael Barnett signalled the importance of measuring the community's travel behaviour and attitudes on a quarterly basis to help the council predict where demand might grow and how services can be better tailored.

He says regular research is essential to understand the impact of what will be a significant investment in public transport. By the time the busway is up and running, the councils will have a sound picture of travel patterns in North Shore City, allowing new services to be designed more effectively.

"This latest piece of research was conducted in the coldest, wettest month of the year, so we'd expect to see a significant shift in patronage as the warmer weather approaches - people are much more likely to use travel alternatives such as buses and bikes during summer. Regular research will essentially remove the guess work in planning and allow us to ramp up services according to patronage trends."

Councillor Cayford said the number of respondents who say they will support the busway is significant.

"While it is clearly too early to tell if that figure can be realised, it's heartening to see that the effort and funds being put into passenger transport improvements - a total of $217 million over the next four years - are likely to make a significant difference to commuter travel times," he says.

"The survey clearly indicates there are issues now which must be resolved - including that many believe fare levels are too high, most don't like the idea of transferring buses, and many don't consider bus services to be reliable or frequent enough."

"The information that is being gathered now will establish a benchmark of attitudes and opinions about the city's bus services generally. This will help us take the right steps to improve existing services, and help inform the travelling public and promote the busway over the next four years of construction and with each new or improved service, says Councillor Cayford.


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