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Marlborough: New bus service trials get green light

New bus service trials get green light

Marlborough District Council’s Assets and Services Committee agreed in principle today to fund bus service trials, with a new Renwick to Blenheim return service, expanded Blenheim commuter routes and Blenheim to Picton return service options. Council will now enter into a formal negotiation process with bus service providers to confirm pricing and the final routes.

Deputy Mayor Terry Sloan welcomed the decision.

“I’m confident we’ve found a workable solution to providing more bus services for our growing population. Many people participated in the public survey earlier this year, and that gave us some strong indications of the public’s preferences.”

“We won’t be able to please everyone. Unfortunately an airport bus service is cost-prohibitive - we can’t afford to service every arrival and departure from the airport.”

A sub-committee of councillors – Mr Sloan, Mark Peters and Jenny Andrews - worked with staff who ranked the proposed trial service options as:

1. Renwick service (peak and off peak) – four weekday return trips, plus a Saturday service
2. New Blenheim commuter services (peak) - half-hourly between 7.30am and 8.30am, and 5.15pm to 6.15pm.
3. Picton service (2 days per week, off peak).
“These services can be accommodated within the funding allocation of $300,000, with a trial period of 18 months.”

“All the proposed routes and timetables are yet to be finalised. The Renwick service is proposed to be a mix of peak commuter and off-peak services, requiring four return trips on weekdays and two on Saturdays,” Councillor Sloan says.

“Service provision costs will be offset by fare revenue and financial assistance from NZTA at a base rate of 51%, subject to meeting all funding criteria.”

Notes for editors
There is an approval process required through NZTA to add new services under the Super Gold Card travel scheme. Super Gold card users are entitled to travel for free on off-peak services only.
Blenheim commuter services are focused on getting people to and from the CBD. Two southern routes have been identified (refer attached map).
Council will continue to work closely with NZTA to obtain all available funding assistance for the trial services. Fares will be kept minimal to encourage patronage and modal change. Some basic infrastructure, in the form of signage and road marking will be required to support the trial services. Some services, such as the commuter option, may be able to utilise existing bus stops.

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