Mayoral hopefuls want bus control
'It should be done by the same council'LIBBY WILSON
Who should have control of Hamilton city's 26 bus services and 12 regional services?
Hamilton's top three mayoral contenders want the city to take control of the buses from the Waikato Regional Council. And a Waikato regional councillor isn't against the idea.
The Waikato Regional Council manages the 26 Hamilton city bus services and 12 regional services, but the city council is in charge of its infrastructure - including bus shelters - around Hamilton.
Mayor Julie Hardaker said taking control of the Hamilton routes made sense. ''We do bits of the bus system ... but the routes and the management of the contract is by the regional council, so there's a disconnect.''
And her two main contenders in the mayoral race agreed. Councillor and mayoral contender Dave Macpherson said the council was responsible for ''everything but the buses''.
''We are responsible in the city for almost all other transport ... we're responsible for bus stops, bus ways.''
The city should take over letting contracts and managing times and routes, he said.
Mayoral candidate and councillor Ewan Wilson said the control was needed because city funding and infrastructure were involved. ''Whenever you've got more than one organisation being held accountable, things frequently drop between the cracks.''
The councils worked together on public transport through the Hamilton Public Transport Joint Committee, which regional councillor Paula Southgate said was open to the discussion.
However, it was investigated three years ago and found to be more expensive for ratepayers. ''At the end of the day, what we all want is a cost-effective and efficient bus service for ratepayers, and we all need to be open to how that is achieved.''
But the joint committee she co-chairs was slammed by Mr Macpherson, who called it a ''talk shop''.
''We can go along, we can get on our knees and plead with the regional council to do something, then they go away and by themselves decide whether they're going to do it or not. And it's usually not.''
Ms Hardaker and Mr Wilson said the system was not working as it should.
''We have to sit down and talk all the time about it all, and that seems to me to be a waste of money and a waste of effort,'' Ms Hardaker said.
''It should be done by the same council.''
But Ms Southgate said it was ''a little bit mischievous'' to suggest the councils weren't communicating. ''I think that the opportunities have existed for them to participate in the decision making, and to say that hasn't happened is incorrect.''
- © Fairfax NZ News
Do you support the introduction of water meters to Hamilton city?Related story: (See story)