New partnership for Western BOP
A new local authority partnership led by Bay of Plenty Regional Council looks to make public transport play a bigger role, by ensuring Tauranga’s wider transport plans and investment over the next 30 years is directed to help achieve this outcome.
The Public Transport Committee is a partnership between Bay of Plenty Regional Council who funds and delivers public transport and other local transport partners – The NZ Transport Agency, Tauranga City Council, Rotorua Lakes Council and Western Bay of Plenty District Council.
This group who contribute to the $13 million invested annually into public transport will look at how the Western Bay of Plenty Public Transport Blueprint project and the Tauranga Programme Business Case can be better aligned to ensure funding is maximised to achieve better public transport use, which will help to reduce our growing congestion and safey issues.
Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s Public Transport chair Lyall Thurston says although the partners have over the years worked together, the Blueprint project and the Tauranga Programme Business Case are significant pieces of the long term transport vision which enables greater collaboration between the partners and their local community to ensure they deliver sustainable public transport and wider transport results regardless of their operational boundaries.
“The Regional Council contributes a significant portion of the investment to deliver public transport, around $10 million annually, with support from the NZ Transport Agency and local authorities providing a small but important portion towards infrastructures such as bus shelters and bus stops”
“We know public transport is one component to solving the significant issues we are experiencing with congestion and safety and with further growth expected over the next 30 years, this issue will worsen if some work is not done now,” says Councillor Thurston.
Councillor Thurston says elected officials from the three Councils will also engage with the local community to ensure their feedback is considered.
He says The Regional Council’s Blueprint project will look to inform how our public transport service will be delivered in Tauranga and the Western Bay of Plenty under the new service contracts to commence in mid 2018, over the next nine years.
“Public transport is not just the buses that are on the roads, but it also encompasses the School bus service in Tauranga which we took responsibility for funding and delivering two years ago from the Ministry of Education, and other services which are vital for the inclusion of all members of our community such as the Total Mobility scheme and the SuperGold Card scheme,” says Councillor Thurston.
Public transport investment for 2016/2017 financial year: