Sunday, October 17, 2021

Woodville residents petition Intercity to restore bus stop after ‘temporary’ route change

Intercity buses still pass through Woodville on their way north, they just don’t stop there any more after the direct service from Wellington to Gisborne was indefinitely halted early last year.

David Unwin/Stuff

Intercity buses still pass through Woodville on their way north, they just don’t stop there any more after the direct service from Wellington to Gisborne was indefinitely halted early last year.

A petition to flag down buses passing through a Tararua town is gathering steam, after a route change left residents by the roadside.

When Intercity halted the direct bus service from Wellington to Gisborne early last year, the buses for the replacement transfer service kept driving through Woodville – they just didn’t stop any more.

The change made bus trips north totally impractical for residents without their own cars, with the nearest available stops in Palmerston North and Dannevirke.

Woodville resident Annette Nepe grew tired of waiting out what was supposedly a temporary change, and has started a Change.org petition to get Intercity to include Woodville on the replacement route.

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Nepe’s petition has gathered 162 signatories so far, and already has the support of Tararua mayor Tracey Collis and Wairarapa MP Kieran McAnulty.

Apart from a single afternoon bus to Napier, Woodville residents can’t get a bus north unless they can arrange their own transport to Dannevirke or Palmerston North.

The Intercity service to Palmerston North does not line up with services from there to Napier, Gisborne or Taupo; either arriving too late or only available on completely different days.

In a “Reasons given for signing” section, many petitioners said the lost service was an important link to family and the rest of New Zealand that was regularly used.

Rachel Fafeita said a Woodville stop should at least be available on demand when passengers make a booking, like the Dannevirke stop on the transfer service was.

Woodville Districts’ Vision chairwoman Vicky Tomlinson said like many in Woodville, she wasn’t sure exactly when the Intercity service changed, but complaints and irritation have boiled over in the past month.

“It was done very quietly, but we won’t be quiet about it. No way.

“It’s very saddening…for our people who don’t have their own transport, the people who need a bus, this is not going to work.”

Nepe’s petition had galvanised the town, and put the issue at the top of the agenda for the community board, she said.

Woodville Districts’ Vision would take the community’s concerns to the Tararua District Council, local MPs and lobby Entrada directly, as well as support any other action the community wished to take.

Collis said Intercity’s decision undermined efforts to reduce carbon emissions by encouraging people to use buses more regularly.

“It’s a disappointing move…when we should be making public transport as easy as possible to use.”

The significant inconvenience now involved in planning a bus trip north would really discourage people opting out of taking a car, she said.

Wairarapa MP Kieran McAnulty​ said he supported the petition and Woodville, and planned to approach Intercity himself to ask for the stop to be reinstated.

“The bus is going through Woodville anyway, surely it won’t be a hassle to stop there.”

Entrada Travel Group, the company that runs the Intercity buses, was approached for comment but did not respond.

This article first show on www.stuff.co.nz Source link Author PAUL MITCHELL on date 2021-10-13 04:30:00

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