Stratford supports daily bus proposal

LAIRD HARPER
Last updated 05:00 24/07/2013

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A daily bus service between New Plymouth, Stratford and Hawera came a step closer to reality yesterday.

The Stratford District Council's policy and services committee voted to throw its weight behind the proposed $520,000 two-year trial, which would allow its residents to get to Witt, Taranaki Base Hospital and New Plymouth's central business district.

Not to be confused with the new weekly extended service trial that will start next week, the proposed service would run four round trips a day.

The service would generate about $100,000 annually, leaving close to $150,000 to be found each year.

Chief executive Sue Davidson said the council would be backing the proposal to the tune of $60,000 over the two years.

However, they still needed the region's two other district councils, the Taranaki District Health Board and other funding bodies to sign on before it could officially start the service next year.

Mayor Neil Volzke said it had been an "arduous journey" to get to this point and quoted a statement from a 2010 Berl report to fire home the importance of the proposed service.

"With work travel patterns in Taranaki, [the report] concluded that if towns in South and Central Taranaki are to survive a public transport link with the north of the region is critical," he said.

"This council has led the charge to get this service going and it's at the last hurdle now."

The Stratford District Council's 2013 Customer Satisfaction Survey claimed 24 per cent of the 500 respondents would use the service.

At the same council meeting, councillors voted 5-4 in favour of constructing a new $280,000 pre-fabricated public toilet to replace the current one behind the glockenspiel, on Broadway.

The ablution block was in line for a $120,000 upgrade as part of the 2012-2022 Long Term Plan.

The committee's resolution will be put to a full council meeting.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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