Bay of Plenty MP Todd Muller is voicing his frustrations alongside parents whose children use the current bus system to get to school.
Todd says buses are great when they work, but in this case they don’t seem to be, and unfortunately that undermines our communities’ trust in our public transport system here in the Bay.
“My office has been inundated with emails, calls, and Facebook messages over the last few days about recent changes to the bus network. There is a real sense of frustration and it’s clear that the service is not delivering to the expected standard.
“I’m hearing from the community that there have been cancellations of direct services between Maungatapu and the CBD. That it’s now one a hour trip from Papamoa to Tauranga Hospital requiring three bus transfers, and that bus drivers on the new ‘free school bus scheme’ are charging school students for their fares because they simply aren’t aware of the new policy.
“With indirect routes we are having children and the elderly having to make connecting buses, which don’t always seamlessly connect. For some this can be intimidating or confusing.”
Todd says this is entirely unacceptable from a safety perspective to have situations where kids are missing connecting busses or aren’t being collected and are being left on the roadside.
“Working parents simply don’t have the time, or ability, to be driving across town to collect their kids at rush hour.
“If the Regional Council, and the Government, are serious about encouraging people to get out of their cars and on to public transport then this needs to be urgently addressed. At the moment the reality is falling well short of the rhetoric.
“Perhaps part of the reason traffic congestion is so bad in Tauranga is that our local network doesn’t deliver for locals.
“Council needs to review this issue at their meeting on today as a matter of priority. I’ll be keeping a close eye to ensure our community’s feedback is given a fair hearing,” says Todd.