Public transport issues get a hearing

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Solutions to long-standing public transport issues in Ōtaki could be in the wind after a meeting between the Ōtaki Community Board and Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC).

Representatives from Greater Wellington Regional Council – Kāpiti Regional Councillor Nigel Wilson, Councillor Paul Swain and General Manager Public Transport, Wayne Hastie talk to the Ōtaki Community Board.
Representatives from Greater Wellington Regional Council – Kāpiti Regional Councillor Nigel Wilson, Councillor Paul Swain and General Manager Public Transport, Wayne Hastie talk to the Ōtaki Community Board.

Three representatives from GWRC — Councillor Paul Swain, Chair of the Sustainable Transport Committee,Wayne Hastie, General Manager Public Transport, and Kāpiti Regional Councillor, Nigel Wilson — fronted a recent community board meeting to hear ongoing concerns about public transport.What the board is asking for

  • Consideration be given to changing the route of bus 290 to include Waerenga Road and Kirk Street
  • More effective communication about the ‘Hail and Ride’ system, which is poorly understood
  • Additional and better bus links with train services, particularly during peak travel times
  • More bus shelters for Ōtaki.

The trio heard from board members and Ōtaki Ward Councillor Penny Gaylor that current public transport for the community consists of one bus and one train service. Frustration was expressed that unworkable bus timetables and ineffective routes were limiting choices for residents and affecting every aspect of their lives — from their ability to get to health appointments to securing employment.

Ōtaki Ward Councillor Penny Gaylor (left) and Community Board member, Christine Papps.
Ōtaki Ward Councillor Penny Gaylor (left) and Community Board member, Christine Papps.

Board member Christine Papps, who undertook a detailed survey of bus services, said current timetables and routes were out of step with community needs and provided very limited opportunities for people to get to Paraparaumu and back.

Councillor Swain acknowledged similar concerns had been outlinedat a meeting between GWRC and the board a year ago and outlined in the board’s submission to the GWRC Long Term Plan in April. He said those concerns should have been formally acknowledged.

“We should have given you a detailed response point by point to the submission. We didn’t. The only thing you can say is we stuffed up.”

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Ōtaki Community Board Chair James Cootes.

Cr Swain said he couldn’t turn the clock back and was keen to focus on looking forward to address some of the issues raised by the board. He said he’d be asking GWRC staff to work with Kāpiti Coast District Council staff and the board to nd solutions.

“I think we should meet. Talk out what the quick wins might be and start working on those and then looking at the longer term.”Board Chair James Cootes says that’s all the board was asking for.

“We’re realistic about what’s achievable. We’re not asking for hourly services. We are just looking for low-cost solutions, as proposed in our submission, such as the one or two more bus connections and more effective routes.”

He said he appreciated GWRC meeting with the board and looked forward to working with them on some relatively easy solutions that could be achieved in the short term.

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