Metlink has reinstated bus stops at Te Horo and Peka Peka, but locals say it’s not enough.
The interim stops for both northbound and southbound passengers are on the old main highway near Rod Clifton Motors, and near the roundabout at Peka Peka by Harrison’s Garden Centre.
“The location of these stops mean they’re doomed to fail,” says Te Horo Beach resident and Waikanae Community Board deputy chair Michael Moore. “There will be limited patronage because they’re too far away from the biggest residential population, which is at the beach.
“Who is going to drive 4 kilometres from the beach to catch the bus? They might as well drive all the way to where they want to go.
“The community needs buses – maybe smaller buses – to go to Te Horo Beach. That’s where the need is.”
Michael also says Greater Wellington Regional Council, which provides operates public transport through Metlink, has not consulted on the new stops. It’s an issue that also irks resident Gerard Zwartjes, who has been lobbying for several months for a better bus service.
“If the council had talked to us, we would have told them the service needs to go where people live,” Gerard says. “The new stops also don’t have the infrastructure for people to leave their cars or bikes there safely.”
Gerard is keen on a hail and ride service, even if it’s just along the highway. He says it would cost the operator nothing and would be more convenient for passengers.
Hail and ride allows passengers to flag down a bus wherever it’s convenient for it to stop.
“The school buses that go to Te Horo Beach use this successfully, and it works in Ōtaki for the 290 bus. Why not here?”
For the past eight years, Te Horo and Peka Peka have been without public transport after traffic volumes were deemed too dangerous on the old main highway. When the expressway opened late last year, buses on the 290 route travelled directly between Ōtaki and Waikanae on the expressway.
Metlink says the new stops approved by Waka Kotahi are temporary.
“We’ve been advised that permanent stops won’t be completed until 2024,” says Metlink group manager Samantha Gain. “We understand and appreciate the frustration felt by the local community, who’ve been waiting patiently for their bus service to return.
“Metlink always intended to reintroduce stops in Te Horo and Peka Peka and officers have worked hard with all parties to ensure these temporary stops are in place for passengers.”
Key to this work is the transfer of the road to Kāpiti Coast District Council, a process known as “revocation”.
An updated timetable for the 290 bus was expected to be on the Metlink website: metlink.org.nz