Why park-and-ride died


The lack of a suitable base in Frankton proved fatal to a proposed park-and-ride trial in Queenstown.

The trial, targeted to start before Christmas, was dropped by Queenstown’s council in a public-excluded session at its final meeting last Thursday.

Queenstown councillor Alexa Forbes says part of the Countdown supermarket carpark at Five Mile was earmarked as a hub for the 12-month trial.

But the fact the site was temporary was a key reason the council dropped the proposal.

Even if the trial highly successful, it couldn’t have kept operating from the carpark long term, she says.

Another problem was the service could run only at 15-minute intervals during limited periods of the day, she says.

”We felt we couldn’t deliver a park-and-ride at the level of service that we required, and in a way that would keep it going if it was successful.”

In a press statement last week, former mayor Vanessa van Uden says the council would focus instead on a subsidised public bus service.

Forbes confirmed the Otago Regional Council objected to granting the trial a transport licence as it would have affected the existing, unsubsidised bus operator, Ritchies.

The regional council also said neither it nor the New Zealand Transport Agency had funding for the trial.

Whatever public transport service the new council designs, it has to be reliable, efficient, cheap and enjoyable enough to entice people out of their cars, she says.

Although she is yet to speak to the new mayor, Jim Boult, she’s keen to oversee the council infrastructure portfolio, which includes transport, for another three years.

It is the second time in five years the regional council has helped put the brakes on a park-and-ride scheme in the resort.

In 2011, the Otago Daily Times reported the regional council opposed a similar scheme on the grounds it would reduce the number of bus users in outlying areas, thereby undermining the unsubsidised service then run by Connectabus.

Otago Daily Times