Plan for more buses and fewer cars

A bus is expected to run every five minutes along Cameron road. Supplied.

Tauranga City Council is looking at investing more money in buses and radically increasing bus services along key routes in order to fight the increasing peak hour traffic congestion.

The council's Transportation Committee is today expected to recommend the council endorse the Western Bay of Plenty Public Transport Blueprint – Programme Business Case (PT Blueprint) as adopted by the Bay of Plenty Regional Council Public Transport Committee in February.

The plan involves boosting bus numbers along Cameron Road from the current 16 buses and hour to 26 buses an hour – or a bus every five minutes, by 2018.

The partners in the public transport blueprint; the regional council, NZTA, the district council and city council also want to investigate priority measures for buses - priority at lights, queue jump lanes, shared lanes and clearways for buses.

The proposals could be implemented incrementally, but if full bus lanes were installed, bus travel times along Cameron Road would nearly halve from around 27mins to about 15mins.

Reasons why central city commuters are not using buses at present include the journey time, buses are much slower than cars, and the fact that all day parking in the CBD is cheaper than a return bus fare.

Putting people on the buses will, according to the blueprint, cost the city council about $3.5 million in capital and construction costs for things like bus interchange sites.

The exact measures required and their costs will not be known until investigations triggered by the council adopting the committee recommendation, are completed.

At this stage the total cost estimate for the city council is $3.7 million. About $200,000 is investigation costs and $ 3.5 million capital/construction costs.

About $2.5 million of the $3.5 million will be spent on improving Cameron Road for buses. It's assumed the NZTA will match the council $3.5 million.

The investigations into Cameron Road are already planned for in the City council 2015-25 Long Term Plan (LTP) and are supported through the Network Operating Plan Process. Park and ride investigations for new growth areas will be addressed through structure planning processes for those areas.

The decision also commits the council to reviewing parking supply and pricing policies. While endorsing the Blueprint doesn't formally commit the city council to capital funding, if it doesn't pay up it will probably lose the NZTA 50 per cent and be faced with the full $7m cost estimate.

Committee members were taken through the business case at a public workshop on Friday.


I agree with Murray Guy (on this occasion)

Posted on 19-03-2017 14:20 | By morepork

it is really just sad to see such a patently foolish solution being suggested as "the answer". If the buses NOW are running empty a lot of the time, why would they think that providing more of them will encourage less car use? If the buses were electric, there might be a point, but they are not. Having lived overseas and seen Park & Ride used successfully to service certain urban areas, I agree with Murray on this. It wasn't even considered... Sometimes it seems like our City Planners are just bankrupt of imagination or innovation. That is certainly not true in general of this Community so I have to wonder if some of the suggestions are being blocked by an Old Guard, in favour of same old same old... Could there be a "Bus Lobby" who influenced this decision?

Bus Use

Posted on 14-03-2017 08:20 | By peter pan

I live in Brookfield and the closest bus stop is over 1 klm from my home.There is nowhere to park your car long-term at Brookfield so i have to use my vehicle to get to town.If the council want use public transport then they have to look at park and ride from the nearest shopping centre. Come on Councillors pull finger as we would use the buses but you don't seem to be trying to hard to make it happen.

Complete Crap!!

Posted on 14-03-2017 07:40 | By The Hobbit

This will never work!! Bus lanes, priority at lights etc will make matters worse - there will ALWAYS be more cars and other vehicles on the road than buses so having bus dedicated lanes and other measures as suggested in the article will absolutely make congestion worse. Who is going to pay for all of this too - it should be the people who use buses - not drivers of cars and other sources? A lot of car drivers use that mode of transport because it is convenient - unless a bus is sat outside my house 24-7 so it is there for when I want to go out and unless it will take me directly to the place I want to go to, then you won't catch me using a bus. I accept some people have no choice and have to use a bus.

Here's the thing

Posted on 13-03-2017 20:49 | By astex

It looks like the council in it;s wisdom have the right idea (sort of) to get more people on to buses like in other main cities world wide but ......... If they want the people on their buses they need to talk to us to find out what the demand is and where. They would not have a clue what it would take for the service to appeal to the user so why not ask us. There are literally hundreds of workers at the hospital and many live at Papamoa. Problem is NO bus goes from Papamoa to the hospital. Then you need to cater for the 7am shift, the 3 pm shift and even the 11pm shifts for them to use it. Consumer input is vital for this to work.


Posted on 13-03-2017 19:04 | By Capt_Kaveman

there is nothing more to say


Posted on 13-03-2017 16:34 | By maildrop

Too many parents clogging up the roads to pick up their brats from school. Children should be walking, cycling or catching a school bus. It should be illegal to pick up children from school. Spoilt brats.

here we go again

Posted on 13-03-2017 16:15 | By old trucker

I wonder is this one of the things already signed off,(by out going Mayor) HA its only $200,000 to investigate, Meetings for all the Bludgers etc,No WORRIES its our money,Gosh unbelievable the waste of money, how do they know iits costing this much, its probably all ready done and dusted, all their TCC) buddies with FINGERS in the pie, my thoughts only, Sunlive is No1 for NEWS,Thankyou 10-4 out.

my 2c worth

Posted on 13-03-2017 15:52 | By Linaire

Personally I think this is a Tauranga mindset .. we are fixated with using our car. And yet, when I visit Wellington, which I know is bigger, so many people make use of the excellent cheap and affordable bus service. I think the bus fares need to be reduced. However, I would also like to see Council thinking about the future, and a rail service that could be expanded, taking in the outer suburbs and other outlying areas later. If we don't start looking to the future, the congestion on our roads is only going to get worse.

No mention of lowe cost, great outcome Park and Ride facilities

Posted on 13-03-2017 15:11 | By Murray.Guy

For the life of me I can't work out the rational of proposing more empty buses more often without first maximizing the benefit of what we now have. It beggars belief that the NZTA did not incorporate a Park and Ride facility into the Te Puna Roundabout, that Tauranga City Council has chosen not to include Park and Ride options at Baypark, The Lakes and others as they are extremely cost effective with low OPEX, unlike putting on more buses that gobble up ratepayer resources is ever increasing bites and further congest the inadequate roading network.

More Sticking Plaster . . .

Posted on 13-03-2017 15:08 | By Makkas1313

Successful public transport systems are a well planned economical convenience for the commuter and others that choose to use them . . . Even in the rain. Again I point to Sydney & Melbourne where it is a pleasure and at times a planned adventure to travel without a car.BUSES ARE AN AUCKLAND QUICK FIX! It does NOT work there . . . So What makes Simon Bridges and the other extremely well paid non bus using experts think that it will work here? - Absolute lunacy!For my non-expert input, I still say Cameron Road is big enough to support a free electric tram it's entire length with smaller buses at major junctions and yes Simon, if it makes you happy, rental bikes for those who are exercise conscious on a fine day . . .

Papamoa too please

Posted on 13-03-2017 14:22 | By TJ

We need more buses in the morning and after work to and from Papamoa too - one of the fastest growing areas of Tauranga. They need to cover different roads also, Gravatt Road all the way down to Sandhurst would be nice. My nearest bus stop is a 25 minute walk. This is why I don't use the bus, and also it is hard to get a seat in the morning as it is full.


Posted on 13-03-2017 14:08 | By overit

is right. I do not see this working at all-people want cars for freedom. Perhaps our buses should be smaller.

reply to captain sensible..

Posted on 13-03-2017 13:08 | By tga resident

That's why they are talking about an overhaul of the service, putting more frequent buses and changing routes and dropping that people WILl start to use them and they WONT be empty. Maybe you should read the article again to comprehend it a bit better.

The simple fact is -

Posted on 13-03-2017 13:06 | By The Caveman

that the buses dont go where 95% of potential passengers want to go, nor at convenient times they want to go and or are too expensive. As noted by various commentators school buses are too expensive, especially with a family of 3 or 4 kids going to different schools its mums taxi hands down. Workers buses running too early/late and servicing main roads and not servicing the commercial areas sorry, my car is far more convenient. And as for the 35% of residents who are retired, walk to bus stop, wait for bus, get off bus walk to destination and then catch a bus back even with a Gold Card - nah! CAR from house, direct to destinations and return right home - EVERYTIME

Smaller buses please!

Posted on 13-03-2017 12:51 | By Mackka

Small buses (12 seaters) are all that is needed for off peak times. The big buses can be seen trundling around all suburbs with rarely more than 4 or five people. Then, the only passengers are usually Gold Card holders. A total waste of money and lack of common sense!

School buses

Posted on 13-03-2017 12:48 | By drob

Charging for school buses has backfired. Anyone who goes near a school at the end of the day knows that traffic is now heavier than before. Why doesn't council know this.? Is there a demand for more buses or is this just wishful thinking that will cost ratepayers without addressing the real issues.

Wo is you

Posted on 13-03-2017 12:47 | By rastus

Agenda 21 is knocking on your door - for goodness sake open your eyes - there are those who would like to see every car taken of the road - and yes many of these academic water melons have the full use of a council vehicle to and from work with free parking (and seen elsewhere such as Bunnings in the weekend) When are you going to wake up - this has been the agenda for years - we need a Donald Trump to pull the skids from underneath these horrible beings who want to run your life - and are presently succeeding.

Increase parking charge

Posted on 13-03-2017 12:37 | By Johnney

Increase parking charges and decrease bus fares. Works well in Auckland. $2.80 from Newmarket to downtown. Parking $50 a day. Say no more.

Free school buses !!

Posted on 13-03-2017 12:03 | By mutley

What about funding school buses from the rural areas which could greatly reduce school day congestion on SH2 in the mornings. The roads are comparatively quiet during school holidays. At present the buses are expensive which is a further incentive for parents to take their offspring to school by car. Even if the parent is driving to work they might then be able to go at a different time other than at the start of school.


Posted on 13-03-2017 11:39 | By Loopy101

This won't hell get rid of many cars. busses are late most of the time and they don't got to the places you need. they don't wait for you to leave when you want. they don't come to your house to pick you up. omokoroa has 1 buds a day there and back. busses won't get rid of cars unless they turn up to your door and ontime

more buses...

Posted on 13-03-2017 11:37 | By tga resident

More buses after 6pm on a weekend too please from the mount and from town. I don't want to go home at 6pm..people actually want to go out after work on a Friday and enjoy themselves..we honestly will not turn into pumpkins after 6pm. Come on Tauranga, move with the times.


Posted on 13-03-2017 11:34 | By tga resident

It is impossible for nurses who live out in Papamoa to get to nursing shifts at 7am at Tga Hospital, much the same for staff who start at 8am...the current bus service does not cater for these people and you end up being at work either half an hour early or half an hour late. Also a bus out to Te Puke and even Whakatane would not go a miss for commuters. The current one gets to Whakatane at 9.30am which is no use when generAlly people start work at 8am. 6.30 bus from Bayfair and leave the car parked there...return bus at4.45pm... Come on councillors and town planners...move with the times and start thinking. Oh and the bus service to Windermere for students is a joke.

more empty buses

Posted on 13-03-2017 11:31 | By Captain Sensible

Oh great, now we can see more empty buses zooming around. Every time I see a bus, I always count the number of passengers. I seldom see more than 6 and most often see less than 2. Maybe I look at the wrong times, but that is what I see.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to make a comment. Login Now
Opinion Poll

What facilities do you think Tauranga needs?

A large performing arts centre/conference hub
A 50m swimming pool
An outdoor sports and events stadium
A museum
None of the above
All of the above

Bay Today

Waterworld. Photo: Ron Webber.

Send us your photos from around the Bay of Plenty.