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Hillside suburbs school bus service to continue

December 7, 2006

Hillside suburbs school bus service to continue – for now

Environment Canterbury has decided to continue the operation of the Taylors Mistake and Westmorland school bus services throughout 2007. The services were in danger of discontinuing due to their low patronage figures. However with the average number of school children per trip exceeding the crucial figure of ten, it has been decided to continue the two services.

When contracts for the Taylors Mistake, Westmorland and Clifton Hill Services were due for renewal at the end of 2005, only the Clifton Hill service was re-tendered unconditionally for a three-year contract, due to the strong patronage growth on that service. The Taylors Mistake and Westmorland services were re-tendered with the inclusion of a clause, which stated that the service would be terminated if the number of school children dropped below an average of ten per trip. However the average figure has remained above ten passengers per trip.

“Although the patronage figures are still lower than what we would like to see, the cost of these school services can be met within the existing budget through the current contracts,” says Cr Nicky Wagner, chair of Environment Canterbury’s public passenger transport portfolio.

She says the Taylors Mistake and Westmorland school bus service provides important social links to local schools for their communities. Due to their location in the hill suburbs, they provide the only safe and viable transport alternative to private vehicles for the children to access their school. “If either of these services were removed it would cause an increase of traffic on steep, narrow public roads during peak hours and contribute to congestion and safety issues outside the schools,” she says. “So we urge parents not already making use of these services to transport their children, to seriously consider it in order to keep it viable.”

She says patronage figures will continue to be closely monitored throughout 2007 and if it falls under an average number of ten passengers per trip at the end of any year, the services can be removed. However, alternative options will be investigated and discussed with the community, should that become necessary, she says.

ENDS

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