INDEPENDENT NEWS

Council approves changes to parking

Published: Fri 29 Sep 2017 11:33 AM
Council approves changes to parking in push to promote public transport
The Queenstown Lakes District Council has today approved a range of changes to parking across central Queenstown as part of a strategy to create a more liveable Queenstown. This new transport strategy aims to encourage people to think about the way they use transport within Queenstown and across the Wakatipu.
These changes have been made to coincide with the introduction of a vastly improved Queenstown public transport service with an all-important $2 fare, which will launch across the Wakatipu Basin on 20 November 2017, in partnership with Otago Regional Council and the New Zealand Transport Agency.
Queenstown Lakes Mayor Jim Boult sees these changes as essential for the new bus system to succeed and provide a much-needed sustainable transport option.
“QLDC has championed the introduction of vastly improved public transport for a long time and it’s very pleasing to see it come to fruition. It’s going to be of huge benefit to residents and visitors and will make a real difference to the congestion issues that have dogged our main transport routes over the last few years. The service will offer free on-board wifi and bike racks, and the chance to read, work, sleep or just enjoy the scenery rather than staring at the rear of the car ahead of you.”
“The reality for such an affordable public transport option to be offered is that it needs to be well used to maintain it, and it needs to be funded to offer substantially subsidised fees. So we need to incentivise a strong uptake of the bus service as an attractive alternative to driving, and ensure we can financially support it through early adoption.”
This is the first increase to parking fees in seven years and is regarded as very low. Following the introduction of the new bus fares and routes, these parking changes will be phased in from early-December through to March 2018. The first phase will begin 5 December 2017 and will increase parking fees across the Queenstown CBD. This applies to hourly, daily and weekly rates in all Council-owned carparks.
From 31 March 2018 there will no longer be an option for daily or weekly rates, with a maximum 10-hour stay applying to most carparks, nor will there be free all day parking in areas like the Queenstown Gardens and One Mile car parks. Parking will also be prohibited on road verges
Mayor Boult says the numbers stack up. “We’ve aimed to make the bus as attractive as possible and that’s what we’ve pushed hard for the $2 fare. At $4 a day for a return trip the bus is considerably cheaper than driving even a short distance and parking all day at current prices. Parking in the Gorge Road Carpark is currently $2.50 a day and when you add on fuel costs and car maintenance, not to mention the convenience of the bus – the economics stack up quickly in favour of public transport. Add the new parking fees into the equation and catching the bus becomes a no brainer.”
As part of the programme agreed by Council there will also be improvements to Queenstown’s network of paths and cycle trails encouraging more people to use active modes of transport such as biking and walking.
“This is an opportunity for us to lead the way and show real progress in a move away from cars to a truly usable and future-focussed mode of transport that’s a genuine alternative to the car. It’s an exciting time to be in Queenstown.”
ENDS

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