Hawkins reveals ORC discussing city buses

Stephen Woodhead.
Stephen Woodhead.
The Otago Regional Council appears set to consider handing responsibility for Dunedin's public transport network to the Dunedin City Council.

However, ORC chairman Stephen Woodhead fired a shot across the bow of Dunedin's City councillor Aaron Hawkins for prematurely revealing the move yesterday.

Cr Hawkins, in a message posted on Facebook, announced the ORC would meet next Wednesday to consider ''a proposal to formally offer governance of public transport to the Dunedin City Council''.

Contacted yesterday, Mr Woodhead would only confirm a paper on ''public transport governance options'' would be considered at the finance and corporate committee meeting.

The report would be considered in the public part of the meeting, but details remained under embargo until released on Monday, as required, he said.

When told Cr Hawkins - deputy chairman of the DCC's planning and regulatory committee - had posted details online, Mr Woodhead said: ''Has he just?'' ''That's an ORC discussion. That's not a discussion with the Dunedin City Council at this point.

''I'm disappointed a Dunedin city councillor is commenting on agenda items he has no say or input into.''

Cr Hawkins said when contacted it was ''public knowledge that conversation was happening and that work was being done''.

''As a result, it's one of the most frequently asked questions I get. All I was doing was reporting that meeting was happening.''

Mayor Dave Cull would not be drawn on the merits of his councillor's actions but agreed it was well known the councils were considering a possible change.

On the coming ORC committee meeting, he said ''we know what it's about, and we'll wait and see what the outcome is''.

Work towards a possible change was understood to include talks between staff from both councils, although a planned meeting of city and regional councillors - scheduled for late last month - had been delayed.

Then-DCC chief executive Paul Orders had confirmed in October last year work on a study being prepared by a consultant was close to completion.

The study would compare Dunedin's network with others in New Zealand and overseas and examine ways to improve the city's public transport network within existing funding levels.

It would also examine the costs, benefits and problems associated with a city council takeover of the network, as well as possible improvements. Mr Woodhead would not be drawn yesterday on whether the regional council was eager, willing or reluctant to relinquish responsibility for public transport.

''I'm not going to discuss any of the options. Let's wait until it comes off embargo and we actually have our meeting next week.''

However, he confirmed managers from both councils would meet soon to ''consider the decisions their respective councils have made''.

''It'll depend on those decisions as to how we progress into the future.''

Mr Cull said the DCC would have to consider a report on the options, and the merits of any change, but it was ''appropriate'' the ORC did so first.

Any change would be ''months, not weeks'' away, he said.

''It's appropriate that ORC considers it first and then, depending on what their conclusions are, we then can decide what we want to do.

''It wouldn't just be dumped on DCC at a council meeting for us to make a call. We'd clearly want council to look into it very carefully.''

chris.morris@odt.co.nz

Dunedin buses

Move away from producing a timetable booklet - no other city in NZ does this. Just about all info is online, and for those that don't have access to this info then produce no bigger than pocket size timetables.  Clean up the timetables on routes like Helensburgh and Wakari. and put a timetable on the stop in Dale street inbound to the uni. Also clean up the state of Brockville/HWB/St Kilda and run it more often plus also run Opoho  - Sheil Hill every 30 instead of every 40 off peak it would make the service more user-friendly. and the same with Pine Hill - Lookout Point

Clean public transport

I dream of quiet, clean, non-polluting public transport. Lets make it trendy to take the bus. 

ORC meeting

Yes the potential move to DCC is well known and there should be no secrecy about the agenda to discuss it.  In fact the public should be invited by ORC to attend the meeting.

Timetable

I agree.  ORC are working on one now - why don't you contact them with some ideas?

Cable car

I thought the idea to bring the cable car back to High Street would be a great transport option for many local commuters, help the shopping precinct at Mornington and be one hell of a tourist attraction/asset to Dunedin as a whole. I went to the meeting held at the museum and heard the presentation, which I thought was reasonably realistic. I gave them my details at the meeting and then again through the website when I got home. I followed this up with an email, but never got any response at all. That was well over a year ago.

When I have to come to town, I hate having to negotiate the diabolical traffic system and tend to stick to South Dunedin for it's ease of parking. If I do have to go to the central city, I usually park in the industrial wharf area (for free) and walk to the rest of the way, to avoid the criminal parking fees. I have friends around Mornington and if the Cable Car was up and running. I'd park at my friends and then catch the cable car to town and back for my shopping.

With a little thought Dunedin could incorperate infrastructure that benefitted both comuters and tourists.

CNG vehicles

More and more vehicles in other countries are switching to CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) vehicles  - they're cleaner, more environmentally friendly and more efficient.

No argument from me

Styly: You won't get any argument from me on that score. I agree 100% we do need smaller buses. Would like to see small electric trams or similar myself. Might give visitors something else to talk about to their friends. I would be more than likely to use them myself.

On the buses

Dunedin needs smaller electric or hybrid buses rather than the diesel fume-spewing monsters that it has right now.

Taking it seriously

Naughty young Hawkins, it looks like he took seriously the pre-election policy of transparency.  His political career won't last long if he doesn't learn the difference between pre- and post-election.

No big secret

I don't see what the big deal is here - this has been openly talked about around town for months, it's no big secret, nor are issues around the financial state of one of the contracting companies, except apparently to the ORC.

Dunedin buses

I hope that whoever eventually runs the buses can produce a bus timetable booklet that is easy to understand by everyone! That would be a major improvement on the current one, and possibly increase the number of people wanting to use the buses.

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