Time running out to have say on the future of public transport

Time is running out for communities to have their say on the future of public transport in the Horizons Region.

Horizons Regional Council’s draft Regional Public Transport Plan 2022-32, which sets the framework for how Horizons plans and delivers public transport services and infrastructure across the region over the next 10 years, closes for submissions on Thursday 12 May.

Regional Passenger Transport Committee chair Sam Ferguson says so far the majority of submissions have come from the region’s urban centres like Palmerston North and Whanganui.

“We’re really keen to hear from a wider range of our communities, especially in the likes of the Tararua and Ruapehu districts,” he says.

“While public transport isn’t as present in these districts, some of our proposed changes include services that will impact them so we want to hear what they think. For example, we’re looking at better regional connections to Taranaki, Waikato and Hawke’s Bay, opportunities and feasibility for services in Tararua, and reviewing existing services in places such as Raetihi and Ohakune.”

Cr Ferguson says this is the best time for people to influence the future of public transport for the region.

“This Plan sets aspirations for 10 years including ambitious targets to increase patronage and reduce emissions and traffic congestion. If people agree with these, or think there’s anything missing, then we need to hear it now so that it can be considered for the final Plan.”

Submissions can be made here, visiting one of Horizons’ offices or service centres or by calling freephone 0508 800 800.

Once submissions have been received, submitters will have the opportunity to speak at the hearings, which are due to be held on 9 and 10 June 2022.

Public transport services in the Horizons Region include; urban and commuter bus services that operate across city, towns and inter-regionally; the Capital Connection commuter rail service that runs on week days between Palmerston North and Wellington; Total Mobility which is a subsidised private transport option for people with disabilities; and health shuttles and community vans that assist access to services in smaller towns.

Services are funded by rates, Waka Kotahi, SuperGold funding, passenger fares, third party contributions and advertising.