The operator of a new Dunedin night bus says customers
were ''clambering'' to get on board at the weekend, but the
Otago Regional Council is standing in the way of a regular
Andrew Rutherford, of Night Bus Dunedin, said he had
experienced a ''very busy'' weekend, ferrying late-night
revellers home after Saturday night's All Blacks test in the
Mr Rutherford said his night was trouble-free, despite
earlier hostility from some city taxi drivers, who
incorrectly insisted his service was illegal.
Instead, passengers were ''clambering'' to get on board, and
he took ''about 50'' people home between midnight and 6am on
''It was much busier than normal ... There were people
clambering to get on the bus, and not taking no for an
answer, pretty much.''
The service included taking his almost full 20-seater bus to
Mosgiel and back early on Sunday, at $10 a person, which
demonstrated demand for a regular, scheduled night bus
service, he believed.
It was something Mr Rutherford said he wanted to consider,
but could not, because of legislative changes and the ORC's
New rules introduced last year meant any regular service,
running routes to a timetable, had to be registered with the
ORC, but it was not accepting registrations until it
completed a new regional public transport plan.
''No-one can register a bus service right now in Dunedin ...
it doesn't matter where it's to, or where it's from, or how
useful it is for the public. It's not allowed until the
regional council gets its act together.
''I think that's an issue,'' Mr Rutherford said.
ORC manager support services Gerard Collings confirmed the
council could not accept new registrations until its work on
a new regional public transport plan was complete.
A draft was expected to be considered by regional councillors
next month, then released for public consultation, before
being adopted later this year.
''Once it's adopted, we'll be able to consider
registrations,'' he said.
The proposed transfer of public transport responsibilities
from the ORC to the Dunedin City Council was not expected to
delay that process, as the DCC would assume responsibility
for implementing it, he said.
City councillors earlier this year backed the proposed
transfer subject to a detailed report later this year,
followed by further council deliberations and public
Meanwhile, Mr Rutherford said public support for his service
had been ''heartening'', and he would continue operating it,
at least through the winter, while it was ''profitable and
safe enough to do so''.