Hawke’s Bay Regional Council has secured $1.39 million in central government funding for local transport projects.
The funding is part of a $350 million Transport Choices package included in the Government’s Climate Emergency Response Fund (CERF) led by Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency.
Council says the investment will fund the upgrade of a number of bus stops in the region, as well as creating two new stops. The package is being fully funded by Waka Kotahi.
Bus stops will be upgraded at the following sites: Hastings Hospital; Dalton Street, Napier; Eastbourne Street, Hastings; Tamatea Pak ‘n Save; Flaxmere Shopping Village; Taradale Shopping Village; Havelock North Village; Eastern Institute of Technology.
New bus stops will be created at Hawke’s Bay Regional Sports Park and Whakatu Village.
Council says the upgraded stops will include real-time bus information so users can plan their journey with greater reliability; solar-power for real-time travel information displays; charging for scooters, bikes, and phones, as well as WiFi capability; secure bike/scooter parking; and 24-hour security lighting and cameras.
Smart stops will also be designed for all abilities, said Regional Council General Manager Policy & Regulation, Katrina Brunton.
“With this funding, we’ll be able to transform key Hawke’s Bay terminals across the network, installing smart stops that showcase the new network, with reliable real-time information, that encourage the integration of active and public transport and meet the changing needs of our community. These new facilities will be operational from late-2023 to mid-2024,” she said.
Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, Manager Urban Mobility, Kathryn King says she is pleased Hawke’s Bay Regional Council has received funding as part of the Transport Choices programme.
“The Transport Choices programme is supporting councils to give people more options in the way they travel. I’m pleased to say we received an outstanding response from councils around the country, embracing the opportunity to provide greater transport choices for their communities.
“Funding criteria specified projects that would deliver strategic cycling/micro mobility networks; create walkable neighbourhoods; support healthy school travel; or make public transport easier to use.
“The aim is to open up streets so everyone can get where they need to go in ways that are good for their health and the planet,” said Ms King.
Part of the CERF funding includes an increase in driver funding. Access to this portion of the fund requires contribution from Regional Council, which is currently unbudgeted. Council says it would require an increase in rates or reduction in services to achieve before mid-2024.
“At this stage the Council is not in a position to fund any commitment in this area. We’re working hard to find the funding so that we can revisit driver wages before 2025,” it said in a statement.