Informal Workshop Notes

Public Transport Committee Workshop

Held:                            9.30 am, Wednesday 24 May 2023, Bay of Plenty Regional Council Chambers, Regional House, 1 Elizabeth Street, Tauranga and via Zoom (Audio Visual Meeting)

Chairperson:               Cr Andrew von Dadelszen - Bay of Plenty Regional Council Toi Moana (BOPRC)

Deputy Chairperson:  Cr Lyall Thurston - BOPRC

Present:                       BOPRC: Cr Jane Nees; Cr Paula Thompson; Cr Malcolm Campbell


Whakatāne District Council (WDC): Deputy Mayor Andrew Iles; Cr Gavin Dennis (Alternate)


Tauranga City Council (TCC):

Commissioner Stephen Selwood


Western Bay of Plenty District Council (WBOPDC): Mayor James Denyer; Deputy Mayor John Scrimgeour (Alternate) via Zoom


Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency (Waka Kotahi): Sarah Roberts – Regional System Design Advisor (Alternate).

Non-Members in Attendance: Cr Kat Macmillan - BOPRC (via Zoom); Sarah Hiestand – Senior Transport Advisor, Waka Kotahi.

In Attendance:            BOPRC: Mike Seabourne – Director, Public Transport; Oliver Haycock – Manager, Transport Planning; Bron Healey – Principal Advisor -Transport; Elaine Nolan – Transport Coordinator; Kim McFaddan – Communications Partner, Claudia Cameron – Committee Advisor

                                                      WDC: Joe Metcalfe – Transport Planner, WDC; .

Apologies:                  Cr Conan O'Brien - Rotorua Lakes Council (RLC); Mayor Tania Tapsell - RLC (Alternate); Commissioner Bill Wasley - TCC.

1.     Introduction

An introduction was provided by Mike Seabourne – Director, Public Transport.

Key Points:

·     There was a clear mandate through the Regional Public Transport Plan (RPTP) to deliver public transport (PT) projects

·     Guidance was sought on the prioritisation of resources and sequencing of project delivery

·     Outlined the three teams within the Transport Team: Transport Operations, Transport Planning and Transport Programme Delivery

·     Planning and preparation was required to meet the region’s future PT needs.

Key Points - Members:

·     Noted an increase in intra-regional travel and the need for an integrated regional transport system

·     Highlighted the need for funding/resource equity across the region.

2.     Discussion



Public Transport Committee Strategic Issues Workshop

Tabled Document 1 - BOPRC Transport Team Structure: Objective ID A4383031

Tabled Document 2 - Prioritisation Activity - 24 May 2023: Objective ID A4388806  

Presented by: Bron Healey – Principal Advisor, Transport
Mike Seabourne – Director, Public Transport
Oliver Haycock – Manager, Transport Planning.



·     Initial planning was underway for the Long Term Plan 2024-2034, noting there was increased competition for Waka Kotahi funding

·     Recognised the challenge of a growing city meeting vehicle kilometres travelled (VKT) reduction targets – projects must consider this as well as mode shift

·     Challenges included:

o   Inflationary pressures

o   Changing Government policy on fares, and the upcoming replacement of the Public Transport Operating Model (PTOM) with the Sustainable Public Transport Framework (SPTF)

o   Increased ‘business as usual’ (BAU) for the team as networks grew in complexity

o   Contract renewal timelines

o   Competitive resource market, in particular for skilled network planners – noting collaborative partners were also facing a shortage of skilled planners.


10.27  am – the workshop adjourned.

10.34 am – the workshop reconvened.

Mode Shift and Carbon Reduction:

·     Public transport service levels/infrastructure delivery

o   An increase in service levels was required. As there were currently no spare buses, service improvements required careful consideration

o   SPTF provided potential opportunities for investment into infrastructure and vehicle ownership

o   Community willingness for innovative change was apparent

o   There was a commitment to refresh the Eastern Bay of Plenty (EBOP) network, however no resources were currently allocated

o   Noted smaller bus purchase and operation was of a comparable cost to larger buses, patronage growth must be considered before committing to a fleet of smaller buses.



§  Suggested investigation into an additional contract with a smaller sized bus provider, to allow flexibility of bus size on certain routes

§  Requested a roadmap of key PT corridor upgrades and changes

§  An EBOP network refresh was supported.


·     Zero emission public transport

o   Decarbonisation was in line with BOPRC values

o   Supported emission reduction trials conducted collaboratively under the facilitation of Waka Kotahi, not individual council by council trials.



§  Requested information be sought from Waka Kotahi around emissions trials currently underway nationally

§  Supported being ‘fast-followers’ in this space, as opposed to our region conducting a trial

§  Suggested the on-demand trial be electric vehicle based to demonstrate a shift towards zero emission PT.


·     On demand public transport

o   The Tauranga trial was moving from planning to implementation

o   There would be minor savings to the fixed route service, but would not off-set the trial cost.



§  Future extension was dependent on the outcome of the trial.


·     Rapid Transit

o   Further resources would be required for rapid transit corridors if signalled as a priority

o   The Cameron Road Stage 2 Project prioritised buses via am/pm peak bus lanes, clear communication was needed

o   Planning had taken place via the Urban Form and Transport Initiative (UFTI) and the Transport System Plan (TSP), a programme of delivery from a technical perspective would be recommended via the Public Transport Service and Infrastructure Business Case

o   Highlighted the Greater Christchurch Rapid Transit project as a success story:



§  Future proofing of PT rapid transit corridors was required via the spatial plan

§  Acknowledged that once planning was complete, it would be up to councils to implement.


·     Passenger rail/ferries

o   Inter-regional rail was dependent on other councils’ willingness to collaborate – highlighted the ‘Making Rail Work’ initiative

o   The Ōmokoroa-Tauranga travel environment had changed since the Wednesday Challenge ferry trial, ferries may be seen as a more viable alternative now

o   Highlighted the reduced infrastructure required for ferries compared to rail

o   Suggested the current subsidy of buses between Ōmokoroa and Tauranga could also be applied to ferries.



§  Staff to follow up with adjacent councils to gauge appetite for rail

§  Supported an investigation into a ferry service.

Public transport and land use:

·     Proactively planning for public transport and land use integration

o   Acknowledge the growth of the Western Bay and Rotorua subregions, PT services would be required to support these developments

o   Noted the two vacant staff positions within the Transport Spatial Planning team.



§  Transport spatial planning required a fit for purpose level of resource allocation.

11.57 am - Cr Paula Thompson withdrew from the workshop.

Fares and pricing:

·     Fare Policy

o   There was a need to change the perception that PT was only for people unable to use private vehicles

o   Staff were awaiting further guidance from Central Government and Waka Kotahi around the implementation of the new free fares for children under 13 years.



§  Acknowledgement of fares and pricing as an operational issue once policy had been developed.


·     Special event policy

o   Requests were received regularly for special event buses, and a policy statement/framework was required.



§  This was not seen as an urgent project.

Service planning and design:

·     Network refreshes

o   Network refreshes required specialist network planning skills, current resources allowed only for the continual programme of consecutive refreshes; the planning stage caused a ‘bottle neck’ due to staff availability

o   Noted the ‘trade off’ in resources between spatial planning and network refreshes.



§  The network and refreshes should be prioritised

§  Suggested a collaboration between BOPRC and other councils’ planners and roading teams, to enable network refreshes to progress ahead of time – in particular the EBOP network refresh.


·     School services (Tauranga)

o   Noted the potential unpopularity of reintegrating the school service into the main network, and that consultation would likely be required.



§  Care, clarity and time would be required if a change was to be made.


·     Regional services

o   The core business should be conducted first.



§  Interregional bus travel was considered a commercial operation at this stage.


·     Community services

o   Noted the Community Transport Forum.



§  Community services should be considered during network refreshes, with collaborative opportunities explored.

3.     Conclusion and Next Steps

Members were invited to prioritise the issues discussed – see Tabled Document 2 - Prioritisation Activity - 24 May 2023. Results of this activity and guidance provided would be reviewed by staff.


12.31 pm – the workshop closed.