$15,000 paint job for Porirua bus

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - KATARINA WIL­LIAMS

Porirua’s com­mu­nity bus is to get a $15,000 paint job be­fore it car­ries a sin­gle pas­sen­ger.

The bus that Porirua City Coun­cil re­ceived a $60,000 grant for in April, was bought for $42,100, but has not been used be­cause, along with the paint job, it also needs $4000 worth of re­pairs.

It was in­tended to make the bus avail­able to all Porirua schools, pro­vid­ing stu­dents with trans­port to ed­u­ca­tional and sport­ing ac­tiv­i­ties.

Doc­u­ments show its es­ti­mated $50,000 a year op­er­at­ing costs were to be met by spon­sor­ship and grants, with the coun­cil meet­ing any short­fall.

There is no men­tion in the doc­u­ments of users be­ing asked to pay for us­ing it, which is what a coun­cil source claims is now be­ing con­sid­ered.

The coun­cil has said only: ‘‘We ex­pect to have the op­er­at­ing pol­icy fi­nalised in the next week or two.’’

It de­clined a re­quest from KapiMana News to sup­ply a pic­ture of the bus in its cur­rent state.

Coun­cil spokes­woman Robyn Steel said the bus was pur­chased in work­ing or­der, but needed $4000 work to put it into ser­vice. It was hoped to have it avail­able for use in mid-Oc­to­ber.

The source also claimed it was not thor­oughly checked over and needed $4000 of ‘‘mi­nor re­me­di­a­tion works’’ car­ried out on it, in­clud­ing re­pairs to its gear box.

Porirua may­oral can­di­dates lined up to con­demn the coun­cil’s han­dling of the pro­ject.

Euon Mur­rell, who voted in favour of the pur­chase un­der the pro­viso it would be free to schools, said: ‘‘We went into this with the be­lief that it was go­ing to be fully funded. If it’s not, then that is per­haps a con­cern."

Mike Dun­can was firmly against dig­ging into ratepay­ers’ cof­fers. ‘‘If it’s self-fund­ing, that’s fine, but that’s got about as much as a snow­ball’s chance in hell of be­ing self-fund­ing.’’

Gor­don Mar­shall ques­tioned whether the coun­cil had ‘‘ex­plored all the op­tions’’ be­fore com­mit­ting to it.

‘‘I don’t want any schools to have to pay. Mak­ing it user-pays, in my book, that’s kind of shock­ing.’’

Mike Tana won­dered whether spend­ing thou­sands of dol­lars on a paint job was ap­pro­pri­ate. ‘‘Is it a good use of money? I’d ques­tion that.’’

Liz Kelly said: ‘‘I ap­pre­ci­ate the sen­ti­ment, but it seems to me that it’s all turn­ing to cus­tard.’’

David Watt said: ‘‘It would’ve been nicer if they’d found a bus that was more pur­pose-fit.’’

Dun­can and Kelly ques­tioned whether lo­cal govern­ment should be pro­vid­ing a bus ser­vice at all. Both be­lieved it was the re­spon­si­bil­ity of cen­tral govern­ment.

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