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Last days to have your say about Gisborne public transport

10 February 2014

Last days to have your say about Gisborne public transport

Users of Gisborne’s new GizzyBus service have responded to Gisborne District Council’s call for feedback on its draft public transport plan. A number of submissions have been received about the new bus routes and timetable which will be considered before the plan is finalised next month, says land transport manager Dave Hadfield.

However very little feedback has been received about Council’s other subsidised public transport – the subsidised school bus service and taxi services for people with disabilities (known as Total Mobility).

The Regional Public Transport Plan outlines what subsidised public transport Council will provide. Subsidies are provided by New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) and rates. In the draft plan Council is proposing to continue to offer and improve the three services. However, improvements to any of the services will depend on funding.

“There has been a lot of interest in the subsidised school bus service over the last couple of years, says Mr Hadfield. Now is the time for people to have their say. The plan will be the guiding document for public transport for the next three years.”

School buses were the subject of a hikoi and protest organised by Gisborne Girls High School students in 2011. Students were concerned about the cost of catching the bus and the lack of bus shelters.

“Council staff have been working 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. No changes are proposed to this funding model in the draft plan. It does propose aninvestigation into alternate funding streams 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 Tuesday 18 February 2014.

ENDS

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