$2 bus ser­vice is your ser­vice - use it

Central Otago Mirror - - CONVERSATIONS -

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

DEB­BIE JAMIESON

Queenstown Lakes Mayor Jim Boult.

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