Vienna van Heeswyck wants to see the region reducing the impact of transport on the environment. Photo: Sara Hollyman.

Petition for better public transport

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A Nelson teen is making it her mission to get people talking about, and ideally using, public transport.

Nelson College for Girls student Vienna van Heeswyck, wants to see the region showing leadership and modelling sustainable practices that reduce the impact of transport on the environment.

She along with other young people from across the Top of the South has launched a petition calling on Tasman, Nelson and Marlborough councils to invest in better public transport options for the region.

They say that a lack of public transport in the Top of the South limits opportunities and negatively impacts on the environment.

“It costs me $100 a month for me to catch the bus to school from Stoke every day and it costs even more for my friends who live further out,” says Vienna.

She says it was prompted by the climate emergency that the world faces.

“The petition isn’t going to fix it, but this is the first step. This is getting people to think about what they’re actually contributing.”

The petition already has more than 500 signatures, but Vienna says they have still got a long way to go.

“We started it at a youth hui but it’s not necessarily for just the youth, we’re really trying to get that across that it’s for everyone and to make it a community thing.

Vienna has been stranded in town waiting for a later bus, and put in unsafe situations as a result.

“I’ve been put in some uncomfortable situations, where I had to wait later for a bus because I missed the first one and was followed home in the dark by an older man offering me his medication. This situation would have been avoided if there were buses every 15 minutes,” she says.

Vienna says, if buses were free during peak times it would encourage more people to use them.

The petition can be viewed and signed at: https://www.change.org/p/tasman-district-council-regular-public-transport-in-and-around-the-tasman-nelson-and-marlborough-regions

Over the weekend Nelson City Council made all bus services free, which they say was “very well received” with extra buses put on as a result as buses were full.

The late late bus had more than three times its normal patronage while the Nelson to Richmond service saw more than 1300 extra rides taken over the two-day period.