Chance to have say on bus service

Fraser McRae
Fraser McRae
Dunedin residents disgruntled with the city's public bus service have a chance to suggest improvements to the Otago Regional Council.

The ORC has launched a public survey of bus passenger needs for several Dunedin routes - Garden Village, Roslyn/Maori Hill/Prospect Park, Peninsula, Port Chalmers/Ravensbourne and Waverley.

It has proposed changes to those routes, for which contracts expire on July 1 next year.

The ORC aimed to simplify the public bus network for users, focus travel where user demand indicated a need for services, and provide more reliable travel schedules.

Last month, a small number of Dunedin residents fed up with what they said was a lacklustre public bus service formed a group called Bus Go Dunedin.

They planned to lobby the ORC and other city organisations for improvements, including cheaper fares, more legible bus timetables, extended operating hours and more frequent stops on some routes.

Bus Go Dunedin members said more people would use public buses if the network was improved, which in turn would make it more cost-effective to run.

They warned that until then, the service would be ignored by many.

ORC director of policy and resource planning Fraser McRae said the changes were proposed to better meet passenger needs.

There were some parts of the network where people had asked for route or timetable changes, and where patronage was so low the service viability was in doubt, he said.

Public opinion would determine whether the changes would be implemented as proposed.

Surveys for each of the affected routes were available on the council's website (www.orc.govt.nz/buses/surveys) and anyone with an interest in the services was encouraged to complete the surveys online.

Printed surveys were also being distributed this week to residents in two areas where bus services in their current form might be discontinued - Murray, Skibo and Lockerbie Sts, in Kew, and on the Peninsula beyond Portobello.

All options for suitable bus services between Harwood and Harington Point were being considered by the ORC, in consultation with residents and community board members.

Survey responses must be lodged by December 20. Changes will take effect from July next year.

- rosie.manins@odt.co.nz

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