What is wrong with public transport in New Zealand

Published on 8/05/2023 at 8:00 am.

Why is bus and rail based public transport not meeting the needs of communities in Aotearoa New Zealand?

The reason is, our current subsidised 'turn up and go' urban, semi rural, rural and regional public transport services is uncoordinated, hap hazard, not user friendly and lacks regional connectivity due to the fact it is based on regionalised and commercialised procurement through the PTOM (Public Transport Operating Model), where each regional council plans and develops their own 'commercialised' public transport services using competitive tendering, allowing increased fare revenue whilst reducing reliance on rate and taxpayer subsidies, that has lead to little or no inter-regional cooperation and planning, creating inequalities between regions.

There are 16 regions in Aotearoa New Zealand, with 1 region having a population over 1 million, 1 region having a population over 600,000, 2 regions having populations over 500,000, 1 region having a population over 300,000, million, 2 regions having populations over 200,000, 4 regions with populations between 100,000 to 199,999 and 5 regions with populations less than 99,999.

More densely populated regions like Auckland, Wellington, Canterbury and lessor extent Waikato have better public transport services and less populated regions have little or no public transport services like the Westland region.

The cost to each region with a population, less than 300,000 to maintain and operate a regional public transport system is expensive, especially for those regions who have populations less than 200,000.

Unfortunately, for too long politicians in councils and central government have spent most transport dollars on trying to make driving easier. By putting cars first and denying us affordable and frequent transport choices, they have forced more and more people to drive allowing for carbon and other toxic emissions to escape into the atmosphere warming our planet.

It about time that Aotearoa New Zealand has a national integrated subsidize 'turn up and go' national bus, passenger rail and ferry public transport system, with its own 'open' national 'tap and go' payment/ticketing system, a national information and timetable website and associated smart phone travel app that contains all 'turn up and go' and 'book and travel' bus, rail and ferry services linking communities across Aotearoa New Zealand 16 regions.

So why can't this happen?

Lets Connect Communities Workshop

Public Transport Forum New Zealand is hosting a half day workshop on Thursday 29 June 2023, following on from The Future is Rail Conference on Wednesday 28 June 2023, to discuss the concepts of an integrated 'subsidised' national public transport network connecting Aotearoa New Zealand 6 main centres with provincial cities, large towns, semi rural towns and rural communities in all 16 regions, using urban metro/regional buses, passenger trains and ferries and inter-regional passenger trains in association with other forms of passive subsidised and non subsidised passenger transport systems.

Aotearoa New Zealand has a lot of trains, buses, ferries and more, yet it's not easy to get around the country by public transport, so how can we make it work better for people?

Come along, find out and help define the future of public and passenger transport in Aotearoa New Zealand.

For further information concerning the Lets Connect Communities Workshop

For further reading concerning issues surrounding public transport in Aotearoa New Zealand:

- Rise and Decline of Public Transport in New Zealand

For additional information concerning the points raised in this opinion -

If you want to have better public transport services in your community, there are ways that you can have your say or become proactive by getting involved in local better public transport campaign groups.

The introduction of a national public transport network is one of the initiatives of the Public Transport Forum New Zealand.

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