Parents and petitioners are feeling left out of the consultation process that will decide the fate of Tauranga's school bus network.

However, the Bay of Plenty Regional Council said it was working with schools on "school-led solutions", and school leaders told the Bay of Plenty Times they were happy with how that was going.

Tauranga mum Lee-Ann Taylor helped organise a petition to save the buses after the council first proposed getting rid of most Schoolhopper routes and putting students on public buses in May.

She and other parents still felt the council was not listening.


"Making school-led solutions is not necessarily listening to parents' voices."

She wanted the council to hold a consultation meeting for all parents and wait five years to make changes to school buses.

This would allow time for new public routes and stops to be tested and proven safe.

The council could also work with other government bodies to improve Tauranga's congestion problems and public transport uptake.

Her ideas were supported by other parents at the St Mary's Catholic School gate last week.

The chairman of the council's Public Transport Committee, Lyall Thurston, said they had offered schools opportunities for public meeting with parents and the offer stood.

Mr Thurston said parents had been involved in the engagement process, as evidenced by the record amount of feedback received.

In response to feedback about people wanting more time, the committee was working on extending the proposed timeframe for implementing changes to 2019.

Mr Thurston said most discussions with schools had been "extremely productive and successful".

The Bay of Plenty Times spoke to principals or teachers dealing with buses at Otumoetai College, Mount Maunganui College, Bethlehem College, St Mary's Catholic School and St Thomas More Catholic School.

All had met with council representatives and found them open to feedback and to making changes to the original plan.

St Thomas More principal Kath Joblin said her school was still negotiating with the council.

She was unsure about some ideas, and had concerns about monitoring of buses and contact drivers.

"There are lots of factors we've got to work on. But the council have been receptive."

Bethlehem College principal Eoin Crosby said the school had received a new proposal that would be shared with parents at a special meeting soon.

School bus changes timeline

- May

Council proposes

and having students riding public buses instead, and putting the savings into improving public buses

- Early June

Concerned parents

to save the school buses

- Late June


- September

The committee

, except for school bus network plans.

- November

The council hoped to finalise solutions for schools before the next Public Transport Committee meeting in November.