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Feedback wanted on Gisborne public transport

Media Release

Feedback wanted on Gisborne public transport

GizzyBus users are being asked to provide feedback on the new bus routes and timetable as Gisborne District Council consults on its public transport plan. The plan outlines what subsidised public transport Council will provide. Subsidies are provided by New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) and rates.

The three services included in the plan for subsidies are the city bus service GizzyBus, the subsidised school bus service and taxi services for people with disabilities (known as Total Mobility). Council is proposing to continue to offer and improve the three services, says land transport manager Dave Hadfield. “However, improvements to any of the services will depend on funding or the willingness of bus users to pay the fare."

The bus routes and timetables changed when the new bright orange and green buses hit Gisborne streets in September. The new routes and times were designed to suit those without access to a car - the elderly, sick and low income earners - and connect them to basic community services including education, health care, welfare and food shopping. A quarter of all passengers on Gizzy Buses are Super Gold card holders and these numbers have increased in recent years.

Presentations to Council about the need for a workers bus service resulted in the early morning and late afternoon service being reinstated on a trial basis.  The trial has been extended to the end of February 2014. The workers bus operates Monday to Friday from 7.10am and from 5.15pm.

The subsidised school bus service was the subject of a hikoi and protest organised by Gisborne Girls High school students in 2011. They were concerned about the cost, of catching the bus and the lack of bus shelters. Since then Council staff have worked with the Tairawhiti School Attendance Service and are now proposing a wider sweep of Kaiti and Tamarau so that more students can be picked up. Four bus shelters have been installed and another four are planned for 2014.

School buses are currently funded 25% by Council, 25% by NZTA and 50% by the student. While no changes are proposed to this funding model,investigation into alternate funding streams will be done, which could reduce the fares and improve services.

The Total Mobility Scheme provides subsidised taxi services to eligible people with a permanent or short-term impairment that prevents them from safely using public transport. In Gisborne, a 50% taxi voucher subsidy applies per trip up to a maximum fare of $12. Currently three taxi companies accept Total Mobility vouchers including one with a hoist. NZTA funding does not apply to non-profit organisations including Sunshine Bus.

Copies of the Gisborne Regional Public Transport Plan are available from GizzyBus drivers, Council’s website and Customer Services in Fitzherbert Street. Submissions close Friday 14 February 2014. 

ENDS

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