119% Increase In PT


Public transport use is up in regions all over NZ - not just Auckland.

It’s important to acknowledge that because so much of the Government attention is about Auckland.

Take Palmerston North & Wanganui.

The latest figures showing bus passenger numbers on services supported by its local regional council, Horizons, is up 119% in the last 10 years.

That’s impressive for a rural dominated area where you would expect justification of vehicle use.

In the early 2000′s several new services were introduced and improvements made to public transport after a funding increase from Central Government.

The regional council’s last regional public transport plan saw a number of services get off the ground, including:

  • A Marton to Palmerston North trial service
  • Continuation of the Massey University free PT scheme after a successful trial
  • Introduction of a Fernlea / Heights bus service
  • A new Palmerston North bus timetable with more frequency

The Council is now seeking public feedback on its next 10-year plan which has a big emphasis on PT growth.

Unlike the Government which has its blinkers on when it comes to the situation of future oil, that plan says:

“Providing public transport for those who don’t have another way to get around is a very important part of what we do.. but PT is increasingly playing a role in improving the environment  sustainability of the transport system and helping us manage the demands placed on our roading networks; more people on buses mean fewer people on the roads.”

So why is it so hard for certain other bodies to grasp that simple fact?



  1. rtc says:

    Increases in PT = cut budgets to stop further increases

    Decreases in vehicle use = pump vasts sums into more roads to try and force people back into cars.

    Nice planning there Joyce and thanks for attempting to create a country that is losing any allure as a place to work and live.

  2. George D says:

    Awesome to see sustained increases.

  3. KarlHansen says:

    “Providing public transport for those who don’t have another way to get around”

    Ahem, I actually think that this kind of phrasing shows that they HAVEN’T fully got the message yet.

    I am easily able to get around by other ways. I want PT to be good as an alternative, not as a cop-out. But whatever - good on them to support PT more, and good on them for big increases in ridership.

  4. greenwelly says:

    That’s impressive for a rural dominated area where you would expect justification of vehicle use.

    Just a quick look a the numbers and at least 90% of that large increase can be traced back to one service. The 2005 introduction of the Free bus (Massey Uni pay the council for it) to Massey effectively doubled the number of bus trips in Palmy from around 400K per year to near 900K,

    Add in the 2008 introduction of Super Gold Card and I suspect you will find a large chunk of the remainder.

    A simple way to cause a massive jump in Auckland PT usage is for AT to introduce free fares for students ( either paid for by the institutions, or as in the case in Vancouver BC, you provide a monthly pass for each month of study a compulsory part of student fees)

  5. Paul in Sydney says:

    Here’s a trip down memory lane

    Early 90′s Palmy buses where reduced to mimi vans and one full size bus, that ran out to Massey

    The trip out to Massey was walking speed as the new Fitzherbert bridge was under construction, 2 lanes to 4, the only crossing over the Manawatu river

    The growth coming from the free bus to Massey isn’t surprising, it’s probably responsible for keeping the other services on the map

  6. Brent C says:

    The Buses are not free in Palmerston North. The students pay for the buses as part of their student fees and parking prices.

    The creation of this bus service has reduced pressure on the Fitzherbert bridge and increased its potential. Therefore the alternative bridge to the north has been continually pushed back by successive councils.

    Somehow I still found cycling to be the fastest and most convient option! (We cannot forget cycling numbers in cities like Palmerston North are high due to the topograhy of the land)


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