Buses back after community commitment
Bus services will return to Wrigley Rd after a “massive turnout” at a meeting between Bay of Plenty Regional Council and the Fordlands community.
Services will resume from Monday after a public hui held on Wednesday saw all parties commit to working together to resolve issues which had caused the service to be temporarily re-routed.
The Cityride bus service has bypassed Wrigley Rd in Fordlands since August 28, after a “series of incidents” threatened the safety of drivers and passengers.
Fordlands Community Association chairwoman Petrina Marsh said they had a massive turnout at the community meeting.
“There were some great outcomes and we’re looking forward to working with outside agencies to work with some of the youth in our community to tackle the issue.
“We were pleased with how many people wanted to be part of the solution, from youth to kauma¯tua and had a good turnout from our elderly and representatives from the gangs.”
Those attending all supported the return of the Route 04 bus service, including Bay of Plenty regional councillor Lyall Thurston, who voiced his desire to work collaboratively to see the bus route reinstated.
“We are eager to see this resolved quickly, but we need confidence that both drivers and passengers are safe.
“Public transport is vital to this community, as people in this suburb have limited transport options.
“It is our priority to work with the community and we have agreed to address the current situation with urgency.”
Route 04 travels through Fordlands and along Wrigley Rd, but was re-routed straight along Sunset Rd, after a series of incidents left a bus driver injured.
The attackers were identified as children — one as young as 8.
A number of different proposed solutions were raised, including a commitment for the community to work with the offending youths to get them off the street and back into education.
Ma¯ori Wardens offered to have a presence on buses over the coming weeks as well as increased police patrol in the area. Thurston said, after the community provided reassurance, reinstating the service along Wrigley Rd was the most favourable option. “The community has taken ownership of the issue and we have assured them that we will support this 100 per cent. “To achieve this we will be working with the Fordlands Community Centre, local police officers and the Ma¯ori Wardens and confirming their support of our efforts.” The council said reinstating the service would require the continued support of the community and local authorities.
Once the council has confirmed the proposed actions will be met, a recommendation will be put forward for the bus service to return along Wrigley Rd effective from Monday, October 1.
Rotorua police are supporting the council, the bus service and the community towards a resolution.
Area commander Anaru Pewhairangi said police had received reports of antisocial behaviour on the Fordlands bus route, along with one report of an assault.
“Police are committed to working with our partners, including the council and the bus service, so all members of the community can feel safe and be safe as they go about their daily lives.”