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Anti-bus campaign remarkably shortsighted - Greens

5 September 2006

Anti-bus campaign remarkably shortsighted - Greens

News that residents of two upmarket Christchurch suburbs are campaigning against a proposed bus service through the area has disgusted Green Party Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons.

"It is extremely upsetting to see a campaign like this being mounted against the extension of public transport services in Christchurch," Ms Fitzsimons says.

"Some residents may feel that they can rely on their cars rather than public transport, but this is not a luxury that everyone can enjoy, which is why elderly residents requested the bus service in the first place.

"Even worse, these are remote, outlying suburbs from which residents have to commute - exactly the kind of areas that are already being hit hard by rising fuel prices. With the looming threat of peak oil this will only get worse. In this climate, you would think that residents would be welcoming the extension of bus services to provide alternatives to driving, but instead we are seeing this remarkably shortsighted opposition.

"The reasons given for this opposition simply don't wash. In particular, claims that buses would put pedestrians at risk are absurd. Almost all pedestrian deaths are caused by cars, and buses are hardly ever involved. By catching the bus, residents of Styx Mill and Northwood would also help to reduce deaths caused by exhaust emissions and reduce our contribution to climate change.

"The claim that buses will not be safe on narrow streets is similarly unfounded. Bus routes are surveyed meticulously, so it would not be difficult to ensure that the route was safe and avoided the narrowest streets.

"Finally, to assert that the mere existence of buses would lead to a crime wave smacks of snobbery.

"Fortunately, this opposition seems to be coming from a vocal minority, with many other residents, particularly elderly people seeking a shorter walk to catch a bus, supporting the extended service.

"The Green Party is 100 percent behind these people. Improvements to public transport services are sadly few and far between, and we certainly don't want to see this one scuppered on such feeble grounds," Ms Fitzsimons says.


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