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Patronage Funding Kicks Off To Successful Start

1 April 2001

Increased convenience for public transport users and easing of traffic congestion are among benefits that have resulted from Government-led changes to the way passenger transport has been funded.

Last November, Transfund New Zealand, the government’s transport funding agency, introduced a new approach to public transport funding. Under Transfund’s Patronage Funding Scheme, the more passengers carried in a region, the greater the funding from Transfund. A ‘Kick-Start’ initiative was also introduced to help regional councils establish, as quickly as possible, new services and infrastructure improvements that will help grow patronage.

In just five months, for the Auckland region alone, Transfund has approved $657,000 of ‘Kick-Start’ funding for the rest of the 2000/01 year, within a total of $1.93 million over a three year period. These figures will increase as new applications are received and approved.

“Further funding will also become available to the Auckland Regional Council during April, when Transfund makes payments for increased patronage are made,” said Judith Tizard, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister with Auckland Issues, and Associate Minister of Transport. “Use of public transport in the Auckland region has grown approximately 10 percent over the past year. Extra passengers are being funded at a rate of $3.00 per passenger during peak time and 70 cents off-peak. This will represent a significant amount that can be re-invested in improving Auckland’s passenger transport system."

To date Transfund has approved ‘Kick-Start’ funding for improved bus services, including additional peak services, as well as better provision of information about services.

“This additional funding demonstrates the Government’s strong commitment to public transport,” says Judith Tizard. “A wider, more integrated public transport system in Auckland will benefit all road users. It will be more convenient for passengers, ease traffic congestion and will also benefit the environment.

“This new approach to funding has provided the Auckland Regional Council with much greater incentive, and flexibility, to design passenger transport services that best suit local conditions and user needs. The Council has taken up the opportunities that the increased funding provides and the public is enjoying the benefits of a wide range of new and improved services.

“As patronage increases, the Auckland Regional Council will be able to recover costs associated with their share of the start-up costs for new services and infrastructure through Patronage Funding.”

Applications for ‘Kick-Start’ funding approved within the Auckland region include:

* Peak hour bus services linking North Shore City with ferry services. These run from Eskdale and Pupuke roads to the Birkenhead ferry and are being introduced in response to demand from ferry users and North Shore City residents.
* More direct and faster bus routes from One Tree Hill/Oranga and Mt Albert areas to the central business district.
* Early morning (departing 5.30am) commuter bus services in Auckland, Waitakere and North Shore cities. These services are now providing alternatives to car use on six major congested corridors – New North Road, Dominion Road, Sandringham Road, Mt Eden Road, Great North Road and Beach Road.
* Enhanced increased capacity and services along Dominion Road at both peak times and on weekends.
* Te Irirangi shuttle services linking the new Botany Centre and Manukau City, including a Saturday service. This has been in response to demand from the local community and Manukau City Council.
* Improved peak/shoulder bus services between Birkenhead and Newmarket with the aim of reducing traffic congestion on Onewa Road, around the Northern Motorway and Harbour Bridge and on local roads around Newmarket.
* Improved morning peak time capacity and frequency of bus services from Kowhai Road (North Shore City), Northcote, Mt Eden Road, Mairangi (North Shore City), Chivalry (North Shore City) and Wairau Road to the central business district.
* Improved morning peak capacity and frequency of the bus service between Otara and Otahuhu.
* More direct, faster bus services on the Hibiscus Coast. A new bus service is being trialled during weekday peak periods to help reduce traffic congestion on the Whangaparaoa Peninsular and in the northern corridor.

And Auckland passengers will soon be able to obtain quality information and publicity about their passenger transport system from a new Rideline web site, which will complement and strengthen the existing Rideline database and call centre functions.

Ends

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