Green buses – Northern Advocate – 20th February 2012.
Over time there have been numerous comments about the ‘green buses’ in Whangarei. As one that watches and advises of things happening in Whangarei I have received a number of queries about the bus service. One series of these questions came from a long time business owner in Whangarei and related to the costs of the service to ratepayers, how it related to budgets set and the low numbers the ‘green buses’ appeared to be carrying. I made some enquires and received the statistics in question from the Northland Regional Council within a couple of days. These answers, I must add, were received without the necessity of an OIA, (Official Information Act request) as some other councils require. There is an old saying “before criticising, walk in another man’s shoes”, so here was a great opportunity to experience this service first hand. So during the course of my enquiry I relayed the fact that normally we do not use the buses and had decided that we were going to check it out for ourselves. We were immediately offered some passes to go and give it a go; so we did. On Thursday 16th February four of us, some using gold cards and others passes took the No.3. 10-15am bus to Rose Street depot from Whau Valley via Tikipunga. We continued on the No.2. 11-15am to Onerahi and back to the CBD.
After a break for lunch we returned back to Whau Valley on the No.3. 2-15pm. On the two morning trips we had the same driver and a different one in the afternoon. After our experience, which was brilliant I will never again look at the transport subsidy on my NRC rate. We are privileged to have a high standard of service; the buses were on time as per the timetable and the numbers carried certainly enlightened me to what I had thought they were.
They were clean, inside and out and also checked for cleanliness between the Kamo and Onerahi run. The drivers were most considerate and polite, well groomed and helped whenever they could with pushchairs etc. One driver even gave a little wave to a toddler who was fascinated with the bus after alighting from it with their mum, near Regent. The patrons of our buses, local and tourists, are in my opinion receiving a high class service the ratepayers of Northland should pat themselves on the back for providing.
(items abridged in italics for Northern Advocate copy)