Thursday, June 30, 2011

"Youth Exodus" - lack of provincial bus services seen as factor in drain of youth from small towns

Tranzwatching in Tranaki (province), Te Ika-a-Maui, New Zealand

A lack of reliable public transport could be responsible for Stratford's youth exodus, two district councillors believe. Councillor Alan Jamieson said to reverse the trend of young people leaving the area they needed to install a daily bus service to and from New Plymouth, according to a report in the Taranaki Daily News. District Councillor Jamieson, said those seeking tertiary education needed their own car if they wanted to stay in Stratford. He said students either choose not to further their education or move out of town.

Comment; Yet another underlying reason for the Government via NZ  Transport Agency to establish and part-fund minimum benchmark service levels and frequencies of bus and coach services between all provincial centres and major city centres; and between surrounding towns and larger settlements and provincial hubs [New Plymouth in the case reported above] - a national "Regional Public Transport" platform - instead of just pumping huge sums into Auckland and Wellington rail! 

Part of the low priority given to this gap in transport policy is devaluing the needs of tens of thousands of independent youth, their need for mobility "spreading their wings" before driving age; or before or instead of car ownership when older. Transporty poverty considerably effects  many youth with need to maximise access to tertiary studies, training courses and employment (including part-time jobs) in all areas, but smaller settlements obviously more so.

In  some cases analysis might show these services can be integrated with provincial high schools, in a manner where a larger commuter bus/coach accessible to all persons heading towards a provincial hub would travel past, or continue to, the district high school/s replacing the need for a specific school bus route.

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