School buses to be slashed

Feedback is sought on proposed bus service changes. Photo: Supplied.

A new public transport time table for the Western Bay of Plenty will slash school bus numbers, while adding to the frequency and scope of the Bay Hopper services.

The plan from the Regional Council is to reduce the number of school bus services from 45 to 11, by moving students onto the Bay Hopper network and adding additional services that mirror the urban network to provide peak capacity.

The move is expected to save $1.5 million in contract costs.

The regional council is seeking public feedback on the proposal, which is scheduled to take place in July 2018.

The feedback will help the regional council refine the bus services – where they go, how often and what features people would like to see on them.

“We have proposed some changes, but need to hear whether people think these are the right changes, or whether there are other things we need to consider,” says regional council transport planner Joe Metcalfe.

The proposed changes look to redesign the bus network with more direct routes and more buses.

There will be new buses with more features and less emissions, and new technology to provide passengers with better information.

There will be consistent and clear bus operating hours and improved options for school students.

The proposed changes are influenced by conversations regional council planners have had with schools, students, customers and stakeholders.

“Once feedback has been received, we'll be able to evaluate this and make decisions about what proposed changes will be made to our new Bayhopper and Schoolhopper service contracts which begin mid-2018,” says Joe.

“We will announce these results to schools, affected residents, existing users and the wider community later this year.” 

Some areas will experienced reduced services while other will have more, but overall Joe believes it will be a superior network.

The network has been broken into different segments with the Tauranga CBD no longer the interchange hub. For example polytechnic students from Papamoa will be able to change at Bayfair for a bus connecting to Maungatapu and Windermere via SH29.

Changing at Bayfair to go across town to the university and polytechnic instead of through the CBD will save 15-20 minutes. And bus frequency will increase to three buses an hour instead of two.

“What we are doing is reducing journey times 10-15 minutes for people in western suburbs, make it more competitive,” says Joe.

Bayfair is also a connection to the new city loop service that will operates every 15 minutes with stops at the hospital, CBD, Mount Maunganui and Bayfair.

In the Mount it means the buses will only operate on Maunganui Road with new stops in Totara Street.

Stops in Tweed Street, Valley Road and Oceanbeach Road are removed.

The proposed bus routes are here on the Tauranga City Council website.

And here to have a say about it


Democracy in Action?!

Posted on 19-05-2017 13:31 | By sensible

What's the bet that the construction site on the corner of Burrows Street and Fifteenth Avenue will be one of the new hubs? Interesting if it is, because submissions are only just being called for the proposed changes.

SORRY, but I am with Soo !

Posted on 18-05-2017 23:41 | By The Caveman

My grand kids will NOT be travelling on "public" transport buses, that do not provide the required service from the "main road", 150 meters from our residence to the school gate - 4.5km, that has been used for the past 5 years. It will be a case of ANOTHER car on the road every morning and afternoon.............


Posted on 18-05-2017 18:58 | By Capt_Kaveman

better than it is, if you dont like it walk your kid to school, we need to remove the free schools bus idea and run with what happens around the country,to those that are worried the parents who pretty much do nothing can become bus monitors for the kids and im sure regional council might go with the idea, maunganui rd makes sense as able to put in bus lanes

The reality

Posted on 18-05-2017 18:45 | By Accountable

Is that the Regional Council (Environment Bay of Plenty) and the Tauranga City Council have set the school bus service up to fail. It is all because the TCC have got so far behind in the replacement of car parks in the CBD that they need to encourage more people to take alternative transport and in particular to increase the use of buses.They know that reducing the school bus services will only increase the number of cars on the road and they also know that this will add to the already stretched roading and parking infrastructures. When everybody is at screaming point they will pull out all stops to encourage the people out of their cars and into their financially failing bus operation. No need to worry about the cost of increasing the parking particularly in the CBD, which is a win win situation for both Councils.

School buses

Posted on 18-05-2017 16:32 | By soo

Not happy to put a 5 year old on a public bus system on their own, school buses should be available and free

School buses

Posted on 18-05-2017 15:18 | By Linaire

I agree with drob, hobbit and sangrae ... Children going to school - Primary, Intermediate and College - should be able to get on a bus for free. It makes them independent. I feel sorry for families with 3 and 4 children at school, because the only option is to drive them to school as it's far too expensive otherwise. So ok .. more clogged roads all round Tauranga ... great!


Posted on 18-05-2017 13:22 | By sangrae

So are they going to put bus shelters every 500mts to alleviate the students from getting wet? I agree with drob,no crystal ball needed.

Where are the brains in Council?

Posted on 18-05-2017 13:22 | By The Hobbit

'drob' has basically said what I was going to say on the matter!! Although, it won't just be congestion around schools - it'll be the entire road network - Te Puna and Bethlehem will become even more clogged up. And, it's about time we started providing for our future - our kids - provide them with free school buses and in fact provide them with free bus rides during school term and out of school term plus weekends until they reach the age of 16.

School buses

Posted on 18-05-2017 12:23 | By drob

The plan was always to get rid of school buses in the misguided belief that students will use the public system. If they have to walk to a bus stop and get wet then more parents will pick them up. The bad congestion around schools will get worse. No crystal ball needed.

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