Penny’s Piece » June 2014

422

R_PennyGaylorI’m glad the issue of Otaki’s public transport is attracting the attention of a growing number of people. We need the volume lifted on this debate if we are to demonstrate to decision makers in Wellington that this issue matters to us, and that with the election cycle upon us it should matter to elected decision makers.

Last month I spoke at the Greater Wellington Regional Council’s hearings for its draft Public Transport Plan on behalf of Kapiti Coast District Council. The submission covered various issues across the district, but the focus was really on pitching for the greater needs of Otaki. I have the full support round the Council table on Otaki’s public transport issues.

Likewise the Otaki Community Board members are all keen and active in trying to get Otaki’s public transport needs met. They’re all in the ear of whoever they can be about the needs of the community.

Our community needs to have the continued option of the Capital Connection taking commuters to Wellington CBD for employment. The NZTA subsidy for this is a choice Government can make about priorities.

Our community needs to have improved bus services and part of this is the enhancement of bus stops, where bus shelters are insufficient in numbers or insufficient in size.

Our community needs certainty through recognition in the Greater Wellington Regional Council’s Public Transport Plan that Otaki will receive train services in the medium to long term with an extension of services from the Waikanae train station up to Otaki.

This is all about making a case to Wellington decision makers about their priorities, and keeping Otaki high on their list of priorities.

We are a community in need of public transport for a variety of reasons: for employment, for training, for recreation, and because some don’t have a car, or because some don’t feel safe driving in the 100kmph environment.

Without a public transport service we remain isolated, without the opportunity to realise the potential growth.

Public transport won’t just take people out of Otaki. It also means that people can come in to Otaki, for employment and education at the Te Wananga O Raukawa. That in turn will support local businesses to grow, new ones to establish, and encourage out of town businesses to move here.

It is General Election year. Public transport is subsidised everywhere in the world, as it is here in New Zealand. Except for the very vital Capital Connection. (See breaking news page 9)