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)
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; .
An introduction was provided by Mike Seabourne – Director, Public Transport.
· 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.
Public Transport Committee Strategic Issues Workshop
Tabled Document 2 - Prioritisation Activity - 24 May 2023: Objective ID A4388806 ⇨
Presented by: Bron Healey –
Principal Advisor, Transport
· 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
Highlighted the Greater Christchurch Rapid Transit project as a success story: https://www.greaterchristchurch.org.nz/assets/Documents/greaterchristchurch/Mass-Rapid-Transit/Greater-Christchurch-Mass-Rapid-Transit-Interim-Report-June-2021.pdf
Future proofing of PT rapid transit corridors was required via
· 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.