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Devonport travel study identifies way ahead

February 27, 2006

Devonport travel study identifies way ahead

Feeder buses, improved facilities, and a renewed push for integrated ticketing are among the measures being considered by the North Shore City Council and the Auckland Regional Transport Authority (ARTA), following an in-depth study into the travel habits of Devonport residents and commuters.

The survey last September - a first step to improving local parking and bus services - generated 576 responses, shedding light on the 'gaps' in the service and what residents and commuters would like to see change, says North Shore City transport planner, Tracy Wheeler.

"We are now focusing on six priority areas and working closely with ARTA to develop an appropriate plan," she says.

Along with integrated ticketing and feeder buses the other priorities for discussion are trip frequency, bus routes and bus stop locations, zoning, return trips, and parking. Further investigations are needed before measures can be implemented.

Problems with parking and bus services were identified by an earlier council survey last year, undertaken as part of the Devonport Revitalisation Study.

It found that more than 70 per cent of people using the all-day car parks at the ferry wharf lived within two kilometres of Devonport. The earlier study also showed that parking spaces were taken up by residents who lived in areas not serviced by bus routes, forcing them to use their cars.

The latest survey set out to gauge where people lived and worked, and establish attitudes to using public transport and alternative modes of transport.

"This feedback will help us to better reflect the community's needs in our planning," says Ms Wheeler.

The most common suggestion (36 per cent) in the latest survey, to reduce parking difficulties at the Devonport wharf, was to improve passenger transport, in particular increasing the frequency of buses. Around a third of respondents suggested introducing parking charges.

Improving facilities, such as secure parking for bikes, was the most common suggestion (23 per cent) to encourage people to walk or cycle to the ferry.

In other findings, 18 per cent of those questioned never used public transport. The vast majority of non-public transport users travelled by car. Most respondents indicated that they would consider using the bus in future.

When given a list of possible changes to the bus service and asked to rank the effectiveness of these to encourage bus use, the three most popular were "if the buses were more affordable" (73 per cent); "if there was a bus stop closer to my work" (54 per cent); and "if the service was more frequent" (48 per cent).

"We are taking all of this on board and working through the issues with ARTA," says Ms Wheeler.

"Some measures may be introduced in the short-term while others will take longer," she says.

The council recently completed an inventory of parking in Devonport, looking at location, quantity and type of parking. This too will be factored in to its future planning.

Devonport commuters and residents will be kept fully informed of developments, and consulted where necessary.

The survey results are available on the council website at: www.northshorecity.govt.nz


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