When the Otago Regional Council next calls for tenders for
public bus services, it will give operators the chance to bid
to two different standards.
The council's request to the New Zealand Transport Agency for
a variation to allow it to continue its maximum 15-year
standard for buses and a Euro IV emission standard has been
However, those standards have been included in its Regional
Public Transport Plan, which it approved at a meeting this
It decided that the next round of tendering for contracts
that expire on June 30, 2013 - which takes place at the end
of this month - would be done under both the council's
present procurement strategy and the New Zealand Transport
Agency's requirements for urban buses: a 20-year maximum and
Euro II emission standard.
This meant it would invite tenders conforming to both
Cr Bryan Scott said the consultative process for the regional
plan showed public support for the present council standards.
Chairman Stephen Woodhead said NZTA's response was
disappointing, especially given the money ratepayers and the
agency had put into getting the city's bus services to where
they were today.
"Clearly the public ... has said to us to cement those
Chief executive Graeme Martin said how the council would
handle the outcome of the dual tender process was a "moot
"It might be a higher cost, it could be a lower cost or we
could get no bids at all."
However, if the council chose not to go with NZTA's standard,
it would need to talk to the agency.
Cr Sam Neill said having buses that were four years older was
not a huge difference.
However, Cr Scott said there was a big difference in emission
standards between 15-year-old and 20-year-old buses, and in
things such as disability access and attractiveness.
Cr Michael Deaker said it would be interesting to see how
NZTA's standards manifested themselves in the "day to day"
reality of public transport.