|Andrew von Dadelszen
Current BOP Regional Councillor
Our Tauranga City ratepayers are frustrated with a costly bus system that just isn't working. There has been copious workshops both at Tauranga City Council (whose responsibility is the roading infrastructure and physical bus-stops) and at the Regional Council (whose responsibility is the bus operations - including the school bus service), but seven months after the last local government elections, there is no sign of real change.
Sure in 2018 there will be a new bus contract, and that will include the introduction of an integrated ticketing system (that records when passengers get on and when they get off), but the public want action now – not in another 18 months.
We can't operate an effective and efficient service without good data (knowing where our passengers are travelling from and to), but this was meant to happen in 2010… not 2018. I get the feeling our staff aren't really listening to their elected councillors. An example is their insistence on going out to the public with a plan for a 10 or 15 minute service between downtown Mount and the Tauranga Hospital on Cameron Rd. Certainly you need buses crossing the bridge from the Mount to the CBD at high frequency at the start and end of the business day, but high frequency throughout the middle of the day would see a lot of empty buses crossing the bridge!
For me, we urgently need to establish a high-frequency bus system along the full length of Cameron Rd (from the Domain through to at least Greerton – not just to the hospital). This would be a great start, but it has to go hand in hand with an electronic real-time bus timetable at the bus stops (that tell you exactly when the next bus will arrive). It may be that this also uses a free app on your phone, but unless passengers can be assured that they will get to where they want to go on time, then they won't use our bus services. None of this will be effective unless Tauranga City spends money on our roading system, including a priority lane at peak times for our buses. It isn't rocket science, and we need a commitment to do it now. Otherwise we will continue to have a lot of under-utilised buses, and continued ratepayer dissatisfaction.
If you have a view on these or any other local government issues, I invite you to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, visit www.vond.co.nz, or just give me a call 021 762 440.