A better bus system that saves rates

Straight from city council
A personal view,
by Councillor Steve Morris

It’s easy to forget that Tauranga’s Bay Hopper is run by BOP Regional Council and not TCC. Last month, Parliament enacted legislation that allows regional councils to transfer the running of local bus services to their city council cousins.

Broadly, BOPRC’s responsibility is to manage the environment. Their jurisdiction covers over 12,000km2 from Waihi Beach to beyond Te Kaha and down to the Napier-Taupo Road. In addition to running Tauranga’s buses, they are responsible for buses in Rotorua and the Eastern Bay.

I often hear from residents about route and timetable suggestions as well as public transport generally. Many times, I have to refer them to BOPRC as TCC only puts in bus stops but has no control over where the buses go, when they go, nor how many there are.

Government has acknowledged that the division of public transport between councils can be inefficient and slows down change. It makes sense for a local council to run the local bus service for local residents.

It helps the ratepayer too; transferring the public transport targeted-rate from the BOPRC column up to the TCC column on your rates invoice will save you money. Councils are required to have a net-debt-to-revenue ratio of less than 250 per cent. The extra revenue from fares and NZTA subsidies will push that ratio down, reducing the need to increase rates as TCC borrows for essential infrastructure.

Correction from last week: The 2019 Ratepayers Report is based on Council’s 2017/18 annual report; the effects of the 2018 by-election won’t be seen till 2020.


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