Wednesday April 4, 2018
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Loss of commuter service would ‘suck’ Continued from page 1. Chair of both the regional transport and sustainable transport committees Barbara Donaldson says: “When we know NZ Bus’s intentions we will work with the community on whether or how any gaps can be addressed.” Other operators may be interested in picking up some of the routes, she says. However, this would depend if the routes were commercially viable to the operators. Wainuiomata commuters are disheartened about the possible cancellation. Marissa Taramai takes the bus every day to her work on
Courtenay Place. “It would suck. It’s really handy having a direct way to get home. It’s so convenient.” She described the service as a “godsend” which drops her off around the corner from her house every evening. Marissa understand there was a financial side to NZ Bus continuing the service but says generally the bus was quite full. Margaret Joe who commutes from Wainuiomata, was “disgusted” there had been no communication on the bus to commuters over such a major change. Margaret had found out
from other passengers the bus might stop running. Catching two buses would increase her travel by 30 minutes to one hour each way. “If this was being cancelled, if it was being replaced by something absolutely savvy and better, I can accept that,” Margaret says. Many morning commuters used this particular bus to get off in Petone and Seaview where they work. No other buses from Wainuiomata stop in Petone. Alan Woods says he is also “frustrated” by the situation. “I will probably stop taking the bus and drive,” he says.
Hutt City councillor Campbell Barry said the cuts would be a huge blow to the community. “What it will do for a lot of people is put them back in their cars. We’ll see more congestion on the roads which is really disappointing and a step backwards when it comes to getting people moving around the region,” Campbell says. When asked whether Tranzit could step in to provide the service, managing director Paul Snelgrove said the company was happy to help out wherever and would do what the council wanted it to do.
Buses need to stay, says MP By Dan Whitfield
Chris Bishop is conscious about how much residents rely on the bus routes in Wainuiomata. He believes they need to stay. The Hutt South MP has been working with Lower Hutt mayor Ray Wallace, councillor Campbell Barry, and Labour list MP Ginny Anderson to ensure bus services continue around Lower Hutt, Wainuiomata and Upper Hutt. Chris says the number 80, Wainuiomata to Wellington direct commuter bus, is at risk as a result of the public transport shake-up happening mid-year. As a community we need to ensure this stays, he says. Other bus services under the chopping block is the Hutt link of the Airport Flyer. “If these buses stop, it will inconvenience hundreds of people. It just means people jump in their cars; the very opposite of what a public trans-
port system should be doing,” he says. The group have met with the Greater Wellington Regional Council already as well as the new bus operator, Transit. Earlier this week, the group of Hutt representatives met with NZ Bus, the company that currently operates the service. “It’s really important we retain these services for Wainuiomata,” he says. Chris says the current operators of the buses confirmed that the services were under review as they work through what the loss of the Hutt bus contracts mean for the business. A petition has had hundreds already sign. The Wainuiomata buses are an important asset for the community, picking up passengers around Wainuiomata and taking them directly into Wellington City. “[They are] very convenient for people who work in town. They are ‘commercial’ services
Chris Bishop is fighting to keep the Wainuiomata bus to Wellington. PHOTO: Supplied
in the sense that they are not subsidised like other Valley Flyer services are around the Hutt.”
NZ Bus lost the Hutt-located bus contracts with changes set to happen along the routes in June this year.
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Wainuiomata News 04-04-18