$2 bus service is your service - use it
With less than a month to go until the launch of the ‘‘$2 Bus’’ there’s a hive of activity surrounding November 20; planning of routes, timetables and a campaign to convince us all that the buses are the best option for getting from A to B.
I was pleased to see the Ministry of Education accept common sense and reverse their decision to completely withdraw the school bus service.
My current understanding is that the bus transport for primary schools will continue as is, and a majority of the secondary school buses will do likewise.
That position is likely to be reviewed after the new public transport system beds in.
Representatives from the Ministry have told me that they are required to withdraw school bus transport where public services are available as a substitute.
I have highlighted out the differences in our region from those of a city environment, such as the considerable distance of Wakatipu High School from where many families live.
I anticipate there will be some forthright debate around this at an appropriate time.
Some of you have already shared your thoughts with me, including some criticism of the route structure and the lack of ‘‘express’’ buses at peak times from some parts of the district into the CBD.
I acknowledge that some of this criticism is justified.
I do ask however, that you think of this as a starting point.
This is a developing service that will be a whole lot better than the current one.
During the first few months of the new service, QLDC and ORC will monitor route demand and the performance of the service and I’m sure there’ll be future adjustments to come.
This is your public transport system.
If we want it to be the best it can be we need to support it by utilising it.
So please give it a go by getting out of your car and trying the new service.
Don’t forget that to get the $2 fare you need to have a ‘‘Go Card’’.
These are available practically everywhere but do need to be preloaded.
Note that the cards will be available free (there’s normally a $5 charge), in the first week from bus drivers on the service.
I’m delighted to add that the service itself will also be free to everyone in the first week, so for no cost you can trial it and make up your own mind.
This has been a major undertaking for the QLDC team and I do commend the input of NZTA through their significant subsidy and ORC for doing the hard yards and getting the service together.
❚ Jim Boult is the Mayor of the Queenstown Lakes District
Queenstown Lakes Mayor Jim Boult.