Taranaki: Little-used bus services under review
Little-used bus services under review
12 September 2013
Citylink bus services to and from Oakura and early-evening services within New Plymouth are under review because of low patronage.
The reviews include surveys in which people can suggest ways to make the services more attractive to potential users.
The route 40 Oakura service was started in 2010 and patronage has crept up from an average of less than one passenger a trip to about four. Meanwhile, the 6.30pm services on the nine urban New Plymouth routes are averaging two or fewer passengers each
“These services have always been provided on a ‘use it or lose it’ basis,” says Chris Clarke, Transport Services Manager for the Taranaki Regional Council which contracts Tranzit Coachlines to provide the Citylink service.
“Bus services are jointly funded by ratepayers and the Government, so we have a responsibility to ensure funds are used efficiently. When patronage is very low, we must look at whether the service is worth continuing.”
Mr Clarke says the first step will be a survey in Oakura to highlight the issue and gauge community attitudes to the bus service. Survey forms will be available on the buses and at www.trc.govt.nz/oakura-bus-service-survey/.
“People might suggest changes that would make it more attractive to other potential users,” Mr Clarke says.
“If we do make some changes and tweaks, we’ll need to wait six months or so to assess the impact. If we still don’t get greater usage, we will ask the Council to decide on the future of the Oakura service.”
The handful of users on the 6.30pm urban New Plymouth services will also be surveyed, to gauge the impact if the services were discontinued. Survey forms will be available on the buses.
The two surveys will run until the end of September.