Informal Workshop Notes

Public Transport Committee

Held:                            Wednesday 11 May 2022, at 9.30 am, via Zoom (Audio Visual meeting)

Chairperson:               Cr Andrew von Dadelszen

Deputy Chairperson:  Cr Lyall Thurston

Members:                    Bay of Plenty Regional Council:

                                    Cr Paula Thompson

                                                      Cr Jane Nees

                                                      Cr Norm Bruning

                                                      Chairman Doug Leeder (ex-officio)

                                    Rotorua Lakes Council/ Lakes Community Board

                                                      Phill Thomass

Waka Kotahi – NZTA (non-voting)

Michelle Te Wharau - Alternate

In Attendance:            Bay of Plenty Regional Council: Cr Stuart Crosby, Namouta Poutasi – General Manager, Strategy and Science, James Llewellyn – Transport and Urban Planning Manager, Bron Healey – Principal Advisor, Regional Development, Matthew Kilpatrick – Senior Transport Planner, Amanda Namana – Committee Advisor

External: Joe Metcalfe – Transport Planner, Whakatāne District Council

Apologies:                  Mayor Garry Webber – Western Bay Plenty District Council, Cr Stacey Rose – Bay of Plenty Regional Council, Commissioner Stephen Selwood – Tauranga City Council, Commissioner Bill Wasley – Alternate, Tauranga City Council


This Workshop was recorded and can be accessed on Council’s YouTube channel:
Public Transport Committee Workshop Zoom Video recording - 11 May 2022

1.     Introduction

Workshop Purpose:

To review the full draft of the Regional Public Transport Plan (RPTP) with a specific focus on new content prepared since the previous Public Transport Committee (PTC) workshop in February

Guidance Sought:

Input and feedback on the following matters:

1)  Recap on content revised as a consequence of feedback received at the previous

      PTC workshop

2)  New sections:

 2.1.3  Bay of Plenty Regional Land Transport Plan 2021-2031;

 2.2     Funding;

 2.3.1  Regional context for challenges and opportunities;

 2.4     Our current public transport network;

 4.1.2  Future Strategy: Rotorua;

 4.1.3  Future Strategy: Eastern Bay of Plenty;

 4.1.4  Regional services; and

 Part 5:  Monitoring and review

3)  New or revised policy proposals and associated actions covering the following

     objective areas:

i.  Mode shift and carbon reduction;

ii. Service planning and design;

iii.  Service and infrastructure delivery;

iv.  Public transport and land use integration;

v.  Partnerships; and

vi.  Fares and pricing

4)  RPTP Consultation and Engagement Plan.

2.     Regional Public Transport Plan Review


Regional Public Transport Plan Review

Presentation: Regional Public Transport Plan Review: Objective ID A4099727  


Principal Advisor, Regional Development Bron Healey presented this item, supported by General Manager, Strategy and Science Namouta Poutasi and Transport and Urban Planning Manager James Llewellyn.

Key Points:

·         Advised that the RPTP must be reviewed as soon as practicable following the finalisation of the Regional Land Transport Plan (RLTP) (June 2021), and the aim was to have this operative by the end of 2022

Part 2: Context

·         The  new section ‘2.2 Funding’ recognised the wider context of public transport and how it related to other mechanisms to achieve mode shift e.g. road pricing.

·         New section 2.3.1 had been added from previous workshop feedback to provide a regional context for the scale of the challenges faced to achieve the objectives.

Part 3.3: Focus Areas

·         A new ‘customer centred’ focus area was been added following PTC feedback at the previous workshop.

·         There was an additional action under fares and pricing to undertake a market segmentation analysis and gain a better understanding of customer motivations,  willingness to pay fare prices, and how they would respond to different financial incentives.

Part 4: Future Strategy

·         The future strategy for Rotorua initially focused on the Bus Network Refresh process, before exploring further options and opportunities in the Rotorua contract operating renewal process and in longer term strategy.

·         The Eastern Bay of Plenty Bus Network Refresh was similar to the one being undertaken in Rotorua, with particular focus on streamlining the Ōhope-Whakatāne service and a future service delivery model for the sub-region.

Members’ Comments/Guidance Provided:

Part 2: Context

·         Page 16 of the RPTP – targeted rates needed to be updated to include Whakatāne.

·         Needed to recognise the challenge around safety and security issues for the public and bus drivers that were not currently highlighted in the Objectives or Focus Areas.

·         Update summaries for PT services in sub-regions to ensure all were correct – update the summary for Whakatāne/Ōhope service to be more specific.

·         Eight percent traffic increase under UFTI needed to be broken down into types of traffic e.g. freight/private, to understand why it was increasing – would also like to see household vehicle growth in numbers.

·         Suggested identifying areas where park and ride facilities would feature in the western Bay of Plenty.

·         Needed to consider Emissions Budgets and Action Plans and their implications; there was a desire for hard, clear targets.

·         Incorporate compulsory use of Bee Cards in the high level policy for any heavily subsidised services to gain better real time information.

·         Ensure correct dates for extension of the Super Gold Card trial (Table on page 30 of the RPTP), for the Waihī Beach service contract expiry and for the free fares for students trial.  Needed to consider a way to amend these within the RPTP if they changed.

Part 3.3: Focus areas

·         Queried whether anything could be done at a policy level to mitigate the issues of congestion over the next few years as major projects were underway.

·         Wording under Collaborative Focus Area - include specific mention of a better way to capture integrated service delivery.

·         Raised the issue of public transport economics, the conglomeration of funding sources and the challenge of bringing this together into a successful and economic service.

Part 4: Future Strategy

·         Expressed concern over the number of people being reached in Rotorua with the current Bus Network Refresh public consultation.  Suggested engaging with people at bus stops to more specifically target users.

·         Decarbonisation of fleets would be made substantially more difficult without financial sustainability.

·         Ensure connection with transport strategy work underway in the Eastern Bay of Plenty and that the most updated information in terms of the operating environment was being fed into the RPTP.

·         Create linkages with spatial and transport planning across the region.

·         Factor into future public transport provisions that Rotorua was now identified as Tier 2 with housing development.  Looking at Tauranga on-demand trial with interest and potential application in Rotorua.

·         Add text within the Tauranga/Western Bay of Plenty Future Strategy section to highlight the on-demand trial work underway.

In Response to Questions:

·       Clarified that the RLTP emissions reduction target was for the wider transport system, whereas the RPTP was within the context of public transport’s contribution to that target - this was consistent in terms of delivering mode shift to support the target.

·         Staff were in the process of reviewing the Waihī Beach service contract and intended to bring a paper to the next Committee meeting on 23 June 2022.

·         Further consideration would be given to best practice in terms of how to maintain a functional system whilst delivering major projects.

·         The Bus Network Refresh project was a key factor in addressing continued declining patronage in Rotorua.  There was also support for an Orbiter service to connect the two CBD’s in Rotorua, which would be addressed through this project.

·         Acknowledged the significant challenges of achieving mode shift.  To make other modes more attractive to people, public transport services needed to be frequent, reliable and direct - there were a number of projects underway to address this.

·         The community transport model was not as well developed in the Bay of Plenty as other regions and there was further work to be undertaken in this space.

·         Staff would highlight the government mandate of bus decarbonisation in the RPTP, along with the feasibility study underway.

·         Initially a review would be undertaken of the current provision for the Eastern Bay of Plenty Strategy to ensure it was meeting current and future needs.

·         A critical piece of work was ensuring the next Long Term Plan (LTP) and RLTP fully reflected the strategic needs of all areas of the region.


Items for Staff Follow Up:

·     Staff to consider how best to present data to the Committee around public transport costs, economics and funding, and in which form.


10:50 am – The workshop adjourned.


11:06 am – The workshop reconvened.



New or revised policy proposals and associated actions 

Presentation: Policies and Actions/ Monitoring and Review: Objective ID A4107274  


Principal Advisor, Regional Development Bron Healey presented this item, supported by General Manager, Strategy and Science Namouta Poutasi and Transport and Urban Planning Manager James Llewellyn.

Key Points:

1: Mode shift and carbon reduction

·         New policy 1.7 had been added in response to direction received at the previous workshop to recognise and advocate for other tools to achieve mode shift e.g. road pricing.

2: Service planning and design

·         Policy 2.8 School Services’ intent was that it would only apply to new or additional services and not to existing ones.

3: Service and infrastructure delivery

·         Policy 3.3 Public transport services identified as being integral to the network (a legislative requirement).

·         Policy 3.5 was about taking a proactive response to new innovations and technological improvements.

·         Policy 3.9 Enabling a flexible approach to vehicle size and weight, while ensuring compliance with central government requirements for urban buses, particularly accessibility requirements.

Part 5: Monitoring and review

·         Legislation allowed the RPTP to be updated to reflect changes in the operating environment at any time, however if the updates were considered significant then public consultation must be undertaken.

Members’ Comments/ Guidance Provided:

1: Mode shift and carbon reduction

·         Acknowledged the different dynamics across the region and that different solutions were required for separate needs.

2: Service Planning and Design

·         Engage with wheelchair users around accessibility issues and barriers to using the service.

3: Service and infrastructure delivery

·         Bring safety through into this policy area – suggested covering off security services at interchanges/bus stops under public transport infrastructure.  Long term strategy needed to recognise risks and identify how to mitigate them.

·         Add consideration of inter-regional services to Appendix B.

·         Policy 3.7 – add wording to reflect working with partners to improve the safety, reliability and punctuality of PT services.  Suggested additional bullet point about reviewing personal safety and mitigating customer concerns.

·         Policy 3.9 – suggested adding ‘customer appeal’ and practicality aspects as factors.

·         Vehicle size and weight - need to consider heavy vehicles and the impacts on local roads, and dispensation exemption for electric vs general traffic.

6: Partnerships

·         Requested a wider approach/policy range of working with businesses and employers (likely through development agencies/social service organisations).

·         Proposed adding ‘advocate for simpler and consistent transport planning/ broader decision making frameworks’.

In Response to Questions:

·         Concession users were captured through Bee Card data – bus drivers recording wheelchair users would be reviewed as a potential data source to report on.

·         Staff would review/consider recognition of accessibility concession under the Fares and Pricing section.

·         Noted long term thinking around a rapid transit strategy and action plan.

·         Matapihi was signalled as an indicative future corridor in UFTI– the strategy and action plan would need to consider how to future proof for this in the long term – detailed business case planning would be required around this proposal.

·         The rear axle weight of the five electric buses currently operating in Tauranga was a key issue.  Electric bus range was approximately 400km per charge and was dependent on several factors i.e. number of passengers, typography, temperature - anything that placed additional strain on the battery.  Decarbonisation work would consider all options including hydrogen, electric, hybrid etc.

·         There was potential for half price fares to become permanent at a national level and if this policy occurred, it was important to understand how it would operate and whether it would change the Waka Kotahi fare policy.

·         Technical work was to be commissioned to provide further information on potential options for fare policy and ticketing to better understand how to achieve objectives.



Consultation and Engagement Plan

Presentation: Consultation and Engagement Plan: Objective ID A4099731  

Senior Transport Planner Matthew Kilpatrick presented this item. 


Key Points

·         A comprehensive draft plan would come to the next Committee meeting on 23 June 2022.

·         Key stakeholders included tangata whenua, other councils, Age Concern, disability services, tertiary students, over 65’s and other community providers.

Members’ Comments/Guidance Provided:

·         Ensure engagement included groups who had been proactive in the past e.g. Tauranga Carbon Reduction Group, EnviroHub, Sustainable Bay of Plenty.  

·         Include targeted engagement with schools/advocacy groups for young people and disability groups.

·         Identify locally specific challenges and opportunities for sub-regions as they differed from challenges Tauranga faced.

·         Proactively engage with businesses/employers and employees, district health boards and private health organisations to discover how best to get their staff onto public transport.

·         Engage with ethnic councils across the region to gain an understanding of different ethnic views on public transport.

·         Supported growing The Wednesday Challenge initiative to five days a week through engagement with large employers to address congestion issues.

·         Suggested staff and members read the Youth 2022 Vital Signs Report from the Acorn Foundation as transport was one of the top priorities: Vital_Signs_Youth_2022.pdf (

In Response to Questions:

·         Work was underway to try and combat the negative perception of using public transport and a video to be created on how to use the bus.




Next Steps

Presentation: Wrap up and Next Steps: Objective ID A4107285  


Principal Advisor, Regional Development Bron Healey presented this item

Key Points:

·         Outlined timeline requirements to deliver the RPTP by the end of the current triennium and the criticality of approving it for public consultation at the 23 June 2022 Committee meeting.

·         All amendments and revisions to the RPTP would be displayed in tracked changes for clarity.  The final draft document would be circulated to members via email for feedback and input prior to the above meeting.

Key Points - Staff:

·         As some members were not present, the workshop recording would be immediately shared with all members for information and the opportunity to provide feedback to staff directly.




12:21 pm – The workshop closed.