Extra bus services ‘en route’?
More bus services could be ‘en route’ to Marlborough if there is a demand for them.
The Marlborough District Council is looking at a Blenheim to Renwick run and another route linking Burleigh and the Boulevard Park on Taylor subdivision.
Renwick Smart and Connected chairman Joe Keighley said a bus service to and from Renwick would be a ‘‘positive’’ move for the community.
‘‘We definitely see it as a need for Renwick and it will definitely benefit the community out here ... Especially the elderly who struggle with transport,’’ he said.
‘‘It helps connect those out here with town or with Blenheim and the shopping that’s available and the hospital and all that sort of stuff.’’
Council finance officer David Craig said the council was in the process of drafting a survey to get a sense of people’s travel needs.
‘‘We are wanting to understand where people are wanting to travel to and from, the frequency of that travel, whether it be daily, whether there are favoured days of the week and whether it’s early in the morning, during the day or late evening.’’
He said the Blenheim-Renwick route and the Burleigh-Boulevard Park on Taylor route were possibilities if there was a strong demand for them.
‘‘They were just some of the options that were there and obviously the information that we get from the survey would need to reinforce that before we would look at providing such services and then anything we did following that would likely be subject to some form of trial period,’’ Craig said.
The council was also considering expanding the bus service to other parts of the region which were often ‘‘isolated’’, including Havelock, Picton and Seddon.
‘‘We are aware that there’s not a lot of public transport within Marlborough and a lot of that is because of our low population and these types of services typically aren’t commercially viable ... We just want to see what the need is,’’ he said.
Blenheim’s daily bus service which travelled between Redwoodtown-Witherlea and Springlands-Riversdale was set to get an extra hour of running time. The service, which operated from 9am-noon and 1-3pm daily was getting a lunchtime run, making it a 9am-3pm service as of March 1.
Craig said the daily service was to become less ‘‘confusing’’ as people often forgot or were not aware that it did not run for an hour at lunchtime.
‘‘I’ve got a bus stop near my property and I quite often go home for lunch and there’s people sitting in the shelter waiting for the bus to arrive and I’ve had to go over to them and say ‘do you realise the bus doesn’t actually run within that lunch hour?’ So it will certainly take away from that confusion,’’ he said.
Any extra services would be payed for by ratepayers, Craig said.
‘‘With any expanded service comes a cost and whether ratepayers are prepared to pay that additional cost is an issue that we also need to deliberate [on].’’
‘‘NZTA funds 51 per cent of the net cost and council, or ratepayers, fund the other 49 per cent. So if we put a service on, subject to getting NZTA’s approval, then the cost of operating that would again be shared between NZTA and council,’’ he said.
Craig said the bus services would charge some people a fare, like they did now.
Survey forms will be available on the council’s website, or at council reception, the Blenheim and Picton Libraries and bus drivers in March.
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Council finance officer David Craig says he often sees people standing at the bus stop at lunchtime, when there is no bus.