Saturday, June 18, 2011

New Blenheim-Picton Commuter Bus service in operation

Tranzwatching in Marlborough region, Te Wai Pounamu, New Zealand (added comment)

A private operator, Tasty Tours Marlborough of Blenheim has started a daily (week day) commuter bus service between Blenheim and Picton, and Picton and Blenheim.

The service is basing departure times on students who travel from one town to schools in the other town, whose needs are not met by current school runs. This said it can also be used by other persons and adult commuters to get to work in either location.

Comment; The service was suggested by a district councillor but there is no suggestion or indication in the report that it has received support from the Regional Council for the area, by legislation the body responsible for co-ordinating public transport in each area of New Zealand.

As noted in a previous NZ in Tranzit posting, which called for a national upgrade of small town internal bus services, there would be a strong case for where a larger town has a large settlement close, to have funding for morning, afternoon (including schools) and early evening (5.15pm or similar) commuter services between the two.

With the strategy proposed in that posting,  in some cases existing general commuter services may be able incorporate runs currently done by school bus services, offering wider access for all and reduced subsidy costs. 

Blenheim (28,000) and Picton (just under 3000, but a busy inter-islander ferry terminal and attractive stay-over for tourists) form a natural pairing with tourism and vineyard work, as well as schools, office and retail workers etc all benefiting from having commuter services, as well as long distance coach services,  rarely at "local friendly" departure times.

Just as funding city commuters in their trains, buses and expensive motorways supports economic vitality and mobility in larger cities, so it can in smaller rural-urban areas.

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