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Proposed Park and Ride Trial Set Aside

Proposed Park and Ride Trial Set Aside

Plans for a trial Park and Ride scheme in and out of downtown Queenstown have been set aside so that the Queenstown Lakes District Council can concentrate on initiating a subsidised public transport service for the Wakatipu Basin.

Mayor Vanessa van Uden said that Councillors reluctantly decided yesterday (Thursday) to stop working on the trial, recognising that there were significant compliance issues that would make it impossible to start up a service before the end of the year. “Something that looked relatively straightforward at the start turned out to be very complex,” she said.

Both Otago Regional Council and the NZ Transport Agency were involved in the discussions.

Feedback from a recent survey the Council carried out showed that while there was considerable support for a Park and Ride trial, there was even more desire for a subsidised public transport service. This was principally for buses but also potentially involving ferry services on Lake Wakatipu as well.

The Council is committed to increasing the use of public transport as one of the means of reducing congestion on the routes in and out of Queenstown and in the town centre itself. Other initiatives include looking at higher parking charges in Queenstown and a long-term Park and Ride service.

“The Council has resolved to put our efforts into ensuring that a subsidised bus service will be introduced for the Wakatipu Basin,” Mayor van Uden said.

Ritchies runs the private bus service originally established by Connectabus, servicing the Wakatipu. It does not receive any public subsidies.

The Council will continue to work closely with the Otago Regional Council and NZTA to ensure that a subsidised public transport service remains a high priority for all the agencies concerned.

“This is a huge disappointment but it is a temporary setback,” she said. “All of the agencies concerned in funding and authorising a subsidised passenger transport service must understand the importance of this initiative. It needs to have the utmost priority for everyone.”


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