More buses aren’t the answer


OPINION: I have just come back from a North Island roadtrip, taking in tourist hotspots such as Taupo, Bay of Islands and Mount Maunganui.

Guess what? I didn’t have a single parking problem while I was there.

Landing back in town I looked at the council’s draft transport strategy - and to be honest I think it’s pants.

It wants to get people on the bus.

But does the council realise how much of a pain in the arse it is to get anywhere in this town if you don’t have a car?

I get it - they will increase bus frequency - but I don’t think that covers all the issues.

I am a bus user, but I can assure those at the council that as soon as I can afford it I’ll be buying a car.

Say I want to go for a dander around Moke Lake, I can’t get there unless I walk, get a taxi or charter a bus.

The same goes for other areas within the district.

There’s no frequent service to Glenorchy and if I fancy a day out in Wanaka my options are limited.

This isn’t a rant about Connectabus - far from it.

When I use the bus, the drivers are always courteous and while I reckon the price tag is steep I recognise I don’t really have an option if I want to get anywhere.

I’m lucky - my mates are usually happy to taxi me around and I can blag lifts every now and then.

But as a Queenstowner (albeit a new one) I just need a car to get around.

There are so many hubs in Queenstown be that Glenda Drive, Remarkables Park, Frankton shops, the CBD or Arrowtown.

Most people who live and work in this town rely on their own vehicles to get there.

Even if they make buses more frequent and help with the costs you will still have to get on two buses just to get to the big supermarkets.This isn’t ideal.

Even if the council funds public transport it must realise parking issues are not going away.

The council is suggesting parking restrictions in town. Does it really think that will stop people getting in their cars?

And is the issue really commuters?

It feels like they are punishing locals to solve the wider parking problems.

Take a nosey around Ballarat Street carpark on any day of the week and there are loads of campervans taking up two spaces - or blocking the way of others.

This isn’t a rant against tourist drivers.

Being Northern Irish I can’t get away with being called a local and realise I am a foreign driver here.

But Queenstown is busy. This isn’t growing pains, it is going to continue.

The council and leading businesses need to get their heads together and figure out how to cope.

More tourists means more cars, means more people needed to service our local businesses.

They all need to get to work. While every town I visited up north was busy, the parking situation seemed under control.

It’s high time we sorted it out.