13 July 2008
Get into gear to improve Public Transport: Greens
Reports from around New Zealand of overcrowding on buses and trains is evidence of a creaking and groaning public
transport system that desperately needs to pick up the pace, Green Party Co-Leader Russel Norman says.
Not only are many passengers forced to stand up during long commuter trips, others are left waiting forlornly at bus
stops as buses packed to capacity can't even stop to pick them up.
"There's building evidence of overcrowding on public transport across the country at a time when we've got a real
opportunity to encourage people on to buses, trains and ferries."
Dr Norman says it's vital that capacity is added to well patronised public transport routes, with more buses and more
He issues a challenge to bus companies to 'keep up with the play' and also to be open with what they're doing, as they
have an obligation to be transparent about how they're spending public money.
"People are feeling stressed as they are caught between rising fuel prices and inadequate public transport so transport
providers and regional councils really need to get into gear to improve public transport.
"And increasing fares is a huge disincentive at a time when we're trying to encourage people to leave their cars at
home," Dr Norman says.
Investing in better public transport should be a priority - ahead of controversial proposed motorway projects such as
Wellington's Transmission Gully and Auckland's Waterview tunnel, Dr Norman says.
Dr Norman - a regular bus commuter - has personal experience of the frustrations endured by fellow passengers.