Proposed sweeping changes to Dunedin's bus service are
headed for public consultation.
But an Otago Regional Council meeting yesterday heard
concerns about a need for people to walk further to bus stops
in a hilly city with a cold climate.
Councillors also noted public calls for routes closer to
their homes, reflected in previous council policy, did not
result in greater use of the system.
And more details emerged of a proposed ''ridge rider''
orbital route connecting South Dunedin, Mornington, Roslyn,
Maori Hill, the Botanic Garden and University of Otago area.
At a meeting yesterday, councillors approved the draft Otago
regional public transport plan, expected to lead to faster
and more direct routes away from smaller residential streets.
It includes a central-city hub where all services would
arrive and depart. The city's seven-zone fare structure could
be cut to three.
The plan has been developed this year by the Otago Regional
Council, along with the Dunedin City Council, the New Zealand
Transport Agency, the Queenstown Lakes District Council and
At yesterday's meeting, Cr Michael Deaker praised the work
that went into the plan, but raised concerns a policy to get
the bus service ''as close to people as possible'' was being
replaced with a ''patronage'' approach.
The plan has noted low patronage growth, and responds with a
simpler, faster, frequent and direct service.
''We're saying if you want to be one of our patrons, you have
to walk [further to the bus stop],'' Cr Deaker said.
In a city with plenty of steep hills and bad weather, he was
not convinced that was the best approach.
He called for monitoring once any plan was endorsed, to make
sure the approach was ''all it's cracked up to be''.
Cr Trevor Kempton noted previously the public had said ''if
you come to my door I will use your bus''.
But that had not happened.
Cr Bryan Scott said patronage was not necessarily the result
of the bus service, but was also about issues like petrol
With the complex system of routes in place at present, there
was nothing worse for an outsider to Dunedin than ''rocking
up to our bus system to work out how it works''.
Cr Gretchen Robertson said: ''If people know when the bus is
coming, and where it's going, that's a massive improvement.''
Council support services manager Gerard Collings said after
the meeting the ''ridge rider'' idea had come from a report
which argued an alternative service ''over the top of the
hills'' connecting South Dunedin and North Dunedin was
If the council decided to go ahead, it would be done as a
trial first. Despite the concerns of some, the council voted
unanimously to approve the plan for public consultation.
Crs Deaker and Sam Neill were voted on to a hearing
subcommittee, and the city council was asked to appoint a
Public consultation: July 21-August 22.
Submissions hearings: September 8-12.
PUBLIC INFORMATION SESSIONS
Meridian mall: Saturday, July 26, 11am- 2pm.
Pak'n Save South Dunedin: Tuesday, July 29, 11am-2pm.
Mosgiel Library: Friday, August 1, 3pm-5pm.