New GizzyBuses get the thumbs up
New GizzyBuses get the thumbs up
The new lime green and orange GizzyBuses that will be plying the streets of Gisborne after 2 September have arrived in town. The fresh look and extra comfort were given the seal of approval by those who tried them out on Thursday (22 August).
A group including Councillors, community representatives from the Regional Transport Committee NZ Transport Agency and Gisborne District Council staff, were taken for a spin around the new route which takes in more doctors, medical services, educational facilities, government services and retailers.
“These are the places our passengers say they want to go,” says engineering and works group manager Peter Higgs.
Council has contracted GoBus to deliver the new city bus service which has been rebranded GizzyBus. “When investigating the most suitable public transport options for Gisborne, we found that when choosing between using a commuter bus service or a private car, Gisborne residents will choose to use a private car.”
“Therefore GizzyBus is focussed on passengers who are less likely to have the option of using a private car. This tends to be those on low incomes that cannot afford a vehicle or those who are unable to use one due to age, health or disability. ”
“The two new 27 seat busses increase comfort levels for passengers. They are air-conditioned, with comfortable seats. They have low floors and an accessibility ramp that can be lowered further to allow easy access for wheelchairs and pushchairs. They also have bike racks fitted at the front. Bus drivers are aware that an important part of their job is helping people get where they need to go with as much assistance as required.”
“There will also be a focus on GizzyBus being on time. We have tested the routes and allowed more time for the buses to get around the new routes to avoid delays. Buses are tasked with leaving designated stops - Desmond Road, Rugby Park, Elgin Shops, Ballance Street Village, Gisborne Hospital, Aberdeen Road, Kaiti Mall, Heath Johnstone Park, Delatour Road Shops, YMCA at the time stated on the timetable.”
“Two dollars will get passengers from one side of the city to the other - there is no extra cost to transfer from the Elgin/Te Hapara bus onto the Kaiti Bus at the Bright Street Terminus. Super Gold Card holders ride the bus between 9am and 3pm for free thanks to the Government scheme that gives concessions to seniors and veterans, in recognition of their contribution to New Zealand society”, says Mr Higgs.
Workers bus service - use it or lose it.
A workers bus will be trialled for two months from 2 September. If Gisborne people want Council to continue to offer a workers’ bus service then they need to use it now or risk losing it, says engineering and works group manager Peter Higgs.
“We have listened to our existing customers who were concerned that the new GizzyBus service would make it impossible for them to get to and from work. The numbers of people who use the service will be analysed and used to inform a decision about whether the workers bus service will continue.”
Worker’s buses will depart Bright Street for Elgin and Kaiti at 7.10am and 5.15pm.
“We changed the timetables to reflect when the buses are busiest – Monday to Friday, 7.45am to 4.30pm. Passenger surveys in February 2012 and June this year showed low numbers using the morning and evening bus services. Averages of five people per bus were using the 7am, 7.30am and 5.15pm Elgin service. Averages of six people per bus were using the 7.30am Kaiti service and averages of four people per bus were using the 5.15pm Kaiti service.”
“No one wants to reduce existing bus services and we understood that some people would be inconvenienced by these changes. It is typical for small cities to struggle to support a viable commuter service. Council decided to offer the workers bus on a trial basis and a final decision will be made after the trial.”
“The low numbers of people currently using the morning and evening services are unsustainable. We need to make changes so that we can continue keep bus fares at the same price they have been for the last 6 years and to meet our obligations to NZTA.”
“Under the contract with NZ Transport Agency, Council needs to recover 50 percent of the cost of running the bus service through fares. We need between 14 and 20 passengers on each service to meet our obligation. To increase patronage we will be working on a marketing plan with our new contractors GoBus once we are up and running.”