New bus & ferry contracting model welcomed
The new contracting model for buses and ferries, announced by the Minister of Transport, is a welcome move that will benefit Wellington public transport users, operators and planners, says Peter Glensor, Chair of Greater Wellington’s Economic Wellbeing Committee which oversees public transport.
“The new contracting environment will help create a better public transport system for users. For example, there’ll be more meaningful incentives for operators to encourage patronage growth. One of the main ways of getting patronage growth is providing services that people find convenient, good value for money, comfortable and easy to use. So we would expect to see better services and better vehicles.
“As well as giving operators more incentive to provide better services, the model gives them more financial certainty which should encourage them to invest and be innovative in their businesses.
“Our council is charged with planning the region’s public transport network. All the public transport services we want to provide will be identified in our Regional Public Transport Plan and they’ll be divided into units which will be no smaller than a full route including all the timetabled services for that route. Tendering for units will enable us to better plan bus services, flows and connections, as it will allow us to focus much more on networks as such rather than individual services or routes.
“It will also encourage genuine competition in our tendering process, something we haven’t seen in Wellington for quite some time. At the moment, for example, operators can pick viable routes and services and run them commercially, i.e. they don’t get any subsidy and get all the revenue. This leaves us to subsidise the less viable services and they’re not attractive to other operators to tender for. Under the new model, operators will have to tender for a unit of services. Units will include all the services, heavily used and not so heavily used, on the routes within each unit.”
Peter Glensor said Greater Wellington had worked closely with the NZ Transport Agency, the Ministry of Transport, the NZ Bus and Coach Association and Auckland Council on the new model. “It’s an exciting and significant step forward for the quality of public transport in Wellington and the rest of New Zealand.”
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