The Dunedin City Council is considering a possible takeover
of the Dunedin public transport network from the Otago
Regional Council, which could pave the way for an overhaul of
The news was confirmed by Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull yesterday,
as results of the council's Your City, Our Future survey sent
to households across the city showed strong public support
for such a move.
Mr Cull said the survey results and other feedback meant the
community had "obviously signalled" itsdesire for a better
service, beginning with a transfer of responsibility for the
network, and "we're considering it".
Preliminary discussions with ORC chairman Stephen Wood- head
about a possible takeover had been under way for several
months, Mr Cull said.
No decisions had yet been made and public consultation would
be essential to consider any transfer and the costs that
That meant any switch, if it proceeded, was at least one year
away, but "we want to go into this with our eyes open".
"It's a big thing.
"It's very important to a lot of people ... some of the
options involved could be quite expensive.
"I think what both councils would agree on is if we're going
to change anything, it has to be demonstrably to the
advantage of the community.
"The community's got to get a real benefit from switching it
Mr Woodhead said the regional and city councils were in
regular contact about passenger transport issues, but the
status quo would remain until "we get a formal request".
"We haven't had one of those."
However, the idea of transferring responsibility would be
"open for discussion", he said.
"The discussion would be based around ... what serves the
people of Dunedin the best."
The news came as a report detailing results of the Your City,
Our Future survey were released yesterday.
The survey's 4340 responses showed strong support for an
enhanced public transport system, including a takeover of the
network by the city council, as well as the return of
passenger rail services, trams and cable cars.
This followed a flood of submissions to annual plan hearings
earlier this year, many calling for the council to take over
the city's public transport network and consider initiatives
to improve the service and boost patronage.
The survey asked respondents 84 questions designed to help
point the council in the right direction for future planning.
Results included a top 20 list of spending priorities over
the next decade, and a top 20 list of activities the council
Public transport scored highly on both, coming in third on
the list of top 20 priorities with 439 responses, only
slightly behind "employment and jobs" and "reduce rates and
spending", which tied for first place with 445 responses
The second list of other considerations prompted a bigger
response on transport, with 749 people ranking an improved
public system as the number one priority. The next highest
was a rail service, with 314 responses.
Respondents urged the city council to work with the ORC to
improve public transport, and wanted cheaper fares and
improved bus timetables, routes and shelters, as well as bus
While overall responses heavily favoured those initiatives,
the highest mean scores - calculated from responses on a
five-point scale - came in other areas.
Work to retain the city's hospital and medical research
capabilities earned the highest mean score (4.56 out of 5),
followed by encouraging employment opportunities (4.25),
protecting Dunedin's education reputation (4.22) and
promoting Dunedin (4.16).