Foxton man launches passenger service
When David Wilde moved from Palmerston North to Foxton six years ago, he noticed the town of about 4500 residents had no taxi or bus services.
Apart from a health shuttle, some people had no way of getting around Foxton, he said.
Wilde set the wheels in motion for a passenger service by surveying 400 households in the Horowhenua town on their transport requirements.
He found there was enough need for a transport service so he launched Foxtel – Foxton’s only registered personal driving service.
Information from Statistics New Zealand as of June 2017 showed that of 4640 Foxton and Foxton Beach residents, 1320 are 65 or older.
In Foxton, 35 per cent are over 65 and at Foxton Beach 24 per cent are older than 65.
‘‘The positive feedback came predominantly from our older population,’’ Wilde said.
‘‘We decided it was worthwhile.’’
Most trips within Foxton cost about $5 to $10 and with the service just two months old, word was still getting out, Wilde said.
Currently, he makes about 10 trips a week.
Wilde is hoping to join Horizons Regional Council’s Total Mobility scheme.
Foxton residents with restricted mobility on the scheme would then pay about half the price to use his service.
The scheme helps elderly people and those with disabilities, who cannot easily use public transport, get around the region for a discounted fare.
Until recently, the only companies Horizons allowed on the scheme were taxi services, which excluded private hire services such as Foxtel.
In October, Total Mobility coordinator Desley Monks said the passing of the Land Transport Amendment Act 2017 in August meant all services were now considered small passenger services so they were all on a level playing field.
Wilde expects to be part of the scheme by early next year.
He doesn’t have a vehicle with a hoist, but he can fit foldable wheelchairs in the cars.
‘‘When we did our survey we didn’t identify that as being a particular requirement.’’
Wilde chose two electric vehicles as he wanted to be more environmentally-friendly.
‘‘We are theoretically selfsufficient.’’
Horowhenua District Council community wellbeing manager James Richmond said Horizons was responsible for public transport but the district council helped elderly people by offering aqua rehab classes and other fitness classes at Foxton Pool to help keep elderly people moving.