I grew up in car-free family. We had bikes, trams every seven minutes and a train to every other major center every 30 minutes. Not having a car was easy, and normal. Now, in rural South Taranaki, we only have one bus a week, and even in urban New Plymouth there are no buses after 7pm, very limited services on Saturdays and nothing at all on Sundays.
We need urgent action to improve our public transport network. Public transport has numerous benefits: it connects people and communities, enables the poor the get around easier, drastically reduces our emissions and de-congests roads. While there have been some improvements in recent years such as the introduction of The Connector service linking Te Hāwera and New Plymouth, we need a lot more investment and support, particularly for rural South Taranaki. I am passionate about public transport and want to see a well-designed, frequent and affordable public transport network for our whole region.
Ultimately, the Taranaki Regional Council has failed to provide enough funding in their Long Term Plans for public transport.
[Photo - our family on the Southlink bus that connects Opunake with New Plymouth every Friday]