Pine Hill man Owain Morris is concerned about how difficult
it is to get the GoCard Extra concession bus pass. Photo by
Accessing concession bus passes has become a struggle for
some of Dunedin's disabled community as the only place someone
can obtain the passes is not on a bus route.
Pine Hill man Owain Morris has a bipedal mobility problem and
walks with a cane. He relies on the public bus system to get
around and makes about 10 bus trips every week.
Recently, Mr Morris found out his GoCard Extra, which
entitled him to a discount when using the buses, was about to
expire. GoCard Extras currently must be renewed every three
The only way to renew the pass was by taking a letter from
Work and Income confirming he was receiving a Supported
Living Payment due to a health condition or disability to the
Otago Regional Council (ORC) office on Stafford St.
Unfortunately the office was not on any bus route and was
several minutes' walk from the nearest bus stop.
The short uphill walk to the ORC building might not seem hard
to most people, but for Mr Morris it was a real struggle. He
said it took him about 30 minutes of walking with his cane to
reach the office.
''We're disabled - that's why we use the buses,'' he said.
He had a friend who took more than a hour to make the climb
due to breathing difficulties and knew another person who had
given up going to the ORC altogether and was using buses
without a discount.
Mr Morris believed the solution to the problem would be
allowing GoCard Extra holders to renew their passes at the
Dunedin City Council civic centre in the Octagon, which was
easily accessible by bus.
ORC manager support services Gerard Collings said the ORC was
aware of the problem and had recently been taking a practical
In several cases, GoCard Extra users who had a letter from
Work and Income confirming they had a permanent disability
had been issued with cards for longer than three years so
they would not have to visit the ORC office so often.
''We're about enabling mobility,'' he said.
Bus Go chairman Peter Dowden said an office issuing GoCard
Extra cards should be easily accessible to all bus routes.
Any civil servant could issue the passes and the obvious
solution would be for the ORC to outsource the work to the
DCC civic centre, he said.
''We'd prefer it if all Community Service Card holders had
access to discounted travel as that would solve the
problem,'' he said.
In Palmerston North and Tauranga this was already the case,
Mr Dowden said.